Today marks one year since terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls, and hundreds still remain missing.
In a report that was just released today, Amnesty International illuminated the widespread devastation that the extremists have caused the nation merely in the last year. The human rights organization estimates that nearly 6,000 people have been killed and approximately 2,000 women—including the schoolgirls—have either been married off or sold into sex slavery.
“Men and women, boys and girl, Christians and Muslims, have been killed, abducted and brutalized by Boko Haram during a reign of terror which has affected millions,” the report says. “Recent military successes might spell the beginning of the end for Boko Haram, but there is a huge amount to be done to protect civilians, resolve the humanitarian crisis and begin the healing process.”
Last year, 276 Christian schoolgirls were kidnapped outside of their school in Chibok. Fifty-one managed to escape, but 219 are still missing. Their kidnapping sparked a global outcry, with millions taking to social media to demand that the Nigerian government and former President Goodluck Jonathan #BringBackOurGirls.
Since the 2014 kidnapping, Boko Haram has continued gaining traction and wreaking havoc, regularly storming into Nigerian towns, burning down homes, massacring families and forcing the survivors to flee into the bush. Leading up to last month’s presidential elections, in which Jonathan was defeated by Muhammadu Buhari, Boko Haram terrorists unleashed gunfire on multiple villages to try and discourage the democratic voting process.
Buhari, who admitted via a statement released today that he is unsure of whether the government will ever find the missing schoolgirls, promises to do everything that he can to put an end to the reign of terror.
“As much as I wish to, I cannot promise that we can find them,” Buhari said in the statement. “But I say to every parent, family member and friend of the children that my Government will do everything in its power to bring them home. What I can pledge, with absolute certainty, is that starting on the first day of my administration, Boko Haram will know the strength of our collective will and commitment to rid this nation of terror, and bring back peace and normalcy to all the affected areas.”