15-year-old Farida Lawali who was kidnapped along with hundreds of her classmates in Nigeria. All 279 were later freed after several days of captivity.

March 31, 2021

“We were walking in the stones and thorns. They started hitting us with guns so that we could move.”

The school girls say gunmen threatened to kill them as they marched the girls into a nearby forest.

  • The Nigerian government says 279 girls were abducted from a secondary school in northern Nigeria. Previous reports placed the number of girls at 317.
  • We still don’t know who exactly is behind the kidnapping. “It’s a ploy to deny our girls … from getting the Western education in which we are far behind. We should not succumb to blackmail. My advice to government is that they should take immediate precautions to stop further abductions.” Lawal Abdullahi, Reuters.
  • We also don’t know why the girls were released. The Nigerian President discouraged ransom payment publicly but it is thought the government (whether federal, state or local) does pay for the release of abductees. Boys previously released from another recent kidnapping told The Wall Street Journal their kidnappers said ransom had been paid.
  • Why It Matters: The Nigerian president says his country, Africa’s largest by population, is in a “state of emergency” because of a declining security situation that includes gangs and terrorist organizations.

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by Jenna Lee,