Nelson Mandela’s widow, Graca Machel, says the world has not forgotten the 219 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist Boko Haram militants last year.
Graca, who met some of the parents of the girls in Nigeria’s main city, Lagos, urged them to remain strong.
- Boko Haram has abducted hundreds, including at least 200 schoolgirls
- The Chibok schoolgirls have not been seen since last May when Boko Haram released a video of around 130 of them gathered together, reciting the Koran
- The meeting was organised by the Murtala Muhammed Foundation to support the parents
- They asked Mrs Mandela to urge Nigerians and the international community to do more to free the missing girls
- President Buhari has given the military a year-end deadline to end the Boko Haram scourge and, presumably, rescue the girls
The kidnap of the girls from a school in Chibok sparked global outrage, especially after the Bring Back Our Girls (#BBOG) campaign brought their plight into the spotlight.
But the BBOG movement has been rather quiet since the change of government in May this year.
The BBC reports that seventeen of the girls’ parents have died since their abduction.
Graca Machel, a prominent child rights campaigner, says she speaks about the girls wherever she goes.
“I shook hands with all of you and feel what is in your blood… I share the pain with you of not knowing when the girls will come back,” she told the parents.
She said the parents have asked her to urge Nigerians and the international community to do more to free the missing girls.
The meeting was organised by Murtala Muhammed Foundation to support the parents as they deal with the trauma caused by the abductions.
Where are the missing girls?
The Chibok schoolgirls have not been seen since last May when Boko Haram released a video of around 130 of them gathered together, reciting the Koran
The Nigerian army has rescued hundreds of hostages from Boko Haram, but none of the kidnapped schoolgirls has been found.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office in May, has given the military a year-end deadline to defeat the militants.
With the support of neighbouring countries, Nigeria has recaptured most of the towns previously under Boko Haram control but the group still carries out frequent attacks, especially in Borno State, which includes Chibok.
In October 2014, the military authorities under President Goodluck Jonathan announced that a ceasefire deal had been reached with Boko Haram that was expected to lead to the release of the schoolgirls. But that was later found to be a ruse.
Amnesty International estimates that at least 2,000 women and girls have been abducted by Boko Haram since the start of 2014.
Facts about Boko Haram:
- Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
- Launched military operations in 2009
- Joined Islamic State, which now calls itself “West African province” of IS
- Killed thousands, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, abducted hundreds, including at least 200 schoolgirls
- Seized large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate
- Regional force has retaken most territory this year
Where are the missing Chibok schoolgirls?