Finally, the world has started noticing the 276 stolen schoolgirls.

A chilling video in which Boko Haram took credit for the mass abduction —  and announced plans to sell the girls as “slaves” —  caught media attention this week.


Three weeks after the horrifying abduction of 276 teenaged schoolgirls from their boarding house in Nigeria — and the release of a chilling video in which their abductors threatened to sell the girls as “slaves” — the world has started paying attention.

The Nigerian police have just offered  a 50 million naira ($324,600) reward for information leading to the girls’ rescue — a sign that, after an initially fumbled response, the government may be starting to respond to domestic and international pressure to act.

Several major world powers have joined the search for the missing girls, who were kidnapped by armed Boko Haram Islamists on April 14.

US Secretary of State John Kerry promised help on Saturday, pledging to do “everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes and to hold the perpetrators to justice”. On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama said a team of military experts has been sent to assist Nigeria’s rescue mission.

Britain has also offered its assistance to the kidnap response with British PM David Cameron condemning the kidnappers as “pure evil” on Wednesday and sending a team of experts to help.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has reportedly pledged assistance, while French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said a “special team” was at Nigeria’s disposal, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

In Australia, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Tuesday directed her department’s head of counter-terrorism to contact the Nigerian High Commissioner to offer support.

But Labor is urging that the Abbott government to do more, with Shadow foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek urging the government to use our position on the UN Security Council to drive an effective international response.

Today, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and chair of the Global Partnership for Education tweeted a statement expressing her concern over the abduction — a move that signalled her return to public life.

“My thoughts and heartfelt feelings are with the families of these girls and I hope they will soon be able to embrace their daughters once more,” she tweeted.


“This act of violence against girls who are seeking an education is deplorable and cannot be tolerated. It is the right of every child to get a free universal education and it is all our obligation to ensure that schools are safe places — for students and teachers.”

Coordinator of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign Hadiza Bala Usman said last night that countries, including Australia, need to “put on pressure and sustain it”. As she told 7:30‘s Sarah Ferguson:

“We want countries outside Nigeria, international community to support us and provide technical support, provide support to the military, sustain the pressure and show that these girls are not forgotten. So we call on the international community to put on pressure and sustain it and provide any form of technical support to the Nigerian military.”

On Sunday, President Goodluck Jonathan expressed his willingness to accept help from world powers, including the US.

Coordinator of the Bring Back Our Girls Campaign Hadiza Bala Usman, speaking on 7:30.

“This is a trying time for this country,” he said in his first public comments on the abduction. “It is painful.”

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Jonathan’s acceptance of West’s assistance suggests an admission he can no longer manage the Islamist uprising without help.

For almost a year, the provinces of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa have been under a state of emergency due to relentless assaults blamed on the extremist group, which was declared a terrorist organisation by the US last year.

This week, a new Boko Haram massacre killed hundreds in the town of Gamboru Ngala on the border with Cameroon. During the hours-long attack, gunmen razed buildings and fired on fleeing civilians.

The massacre left around 300 dead, some of whom were burned alive, according to information provided by locals and supported by numerous residents.

Violence by Boko Haram has killed 1,500 in the first three months of 2014 alone, compared with an estimated 3,600 between 2010 and 2013.

Mass protests about government inaction following the abductions have taken place across the world, from Los Angeles to London. Here are some images from the protests:

You can help Bring Back our Girls. Sign the Amnesty petition here and the petititon here to show your support for the search effort. You can also support the Twitter campaign using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, or donate to Girl Rising’s emergency appeal here.