One year after Islamic extremists kidnapped hundreds of young girls from a northeastern Nigerian town, the world still wonders what happened to the 219 girls that are still missing. The event sparked global outrage, and that was fanned by the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. On the one-year anniversary of the kidnapping, some are asking whether social media activism has had any positive impact on the search for the girls.

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Since the April 14 – 15 kidnapping, the location of the Chibok girls has mostly remained a mystery. While being transported to the Sambisa Forest, a few dozen of the girls managed to escape their captors. Others have reportedly seen groups of the victims from time to time, raising the possibility that the girls were separated and taken across the border to neighboring Chad and Cameroon. At this time, 219 girls are still missing.

Boko Haram, the Islamic militant group responsible for the kidnapping, has abducted at least 2,000 women and girls since 2014, according to Amnesty International. In November, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a video saying the group did not intend to bring the original group of schoolgirls back to their families, claiming the girls converted to Islam.

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“The issue of the girls is long forgotten because I have long ago married them off,” he said, reported the Associated Press. “In this war, there is no going back.”

But families have not given up hope. Around the world, activists are marking the anniversary with ceremonies and tributes. Some have changed the popular slogan “Bring Back Our Girls” to “Never to be Forgotten,” highlighting the desire for continued efforts to locate the youth. The trending #BringBackOurGirls hashtag has returned to social media, also showing worldwide interest in finding the girls.

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Via The Christian Science Monitor

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