As Sunday marked 1,000 days since over 200 Chibok school girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram, the Nigerian president, along with advocates from around the world, expressed hopes that the remaining girls would be freed.
In April of 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 school girls in Borno. Since then, several girls were rescued, released, or were able to escape, but reports say about 200 are still captive.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari expressed a commitment to continue efforts to rescue the remaining girls who are captive to the extremist group.
“We are hopeful that many more will still return,” Buhari was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera. “The tears never dry, the ache is in our hearts. Our hearts will leap for joy, as more and more of our daughters return. It is a goal we remain steadfastly committed to.”
Buhari also made comments on Twitter, saying, “I’m hopeful that soon, Chibok community, Nigeria, and, indeed, the world, will welcome the remaining girls back home.”
Other public figures and advocacy organizations have also made statements to mark the day. Amnesty International, a human rights group, called on Boko Haram to immediately release the girls, and also spotlighted the other abductions and attacks perpetrated by the extremist groups.
“This terrible anniversary is a chilling reminder not just of the tragic disappearance of the Chibok school girls, but also all other individuals — many of whom are also children — who remain captive in Boko Haram’s hideouts across the country,” said Makmid Kamara, the acting country director for Amnesty International Nigeria. “These abductions and other attacks on civilians, many of which constitute war crimes, must stop.”
Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist, said her “heart breaks for the families who long for their precious daughters.”
“The men who took the Chibok girls and others like them cannot take away their courage or the love of their families,” Yousafzai said in a statement posted on the Bring Back Our Girls Facebook page. “I still hold hope that one day the girls will come home, finish their education and choose their futures for themselves.”
Meanwhile, one of the school girls was found to have been freed recently, according to a January 5 report from the Associated Press. Rakiya Abubakar and her six-month-old baby were found when Nigerian soldiers were interrogating Boko Haram suspects.