The girls have names like Deborah, Saraya, Mary and Gloria.
They are all teenagers, between the ages of 16 and 18, pursuing their educations despite the threat of violence and danger that lurks in schools in northern Nigeria, according to the Nigerian newspaper The Nation.
Last month, they were kidnapped by armed terrorists and are being held under the threat that they will be sold into marriages or used as sex slaves, according to the Associated Press.
As many as 300 Nigerian students were kidnapped from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok on April 15, and though a handful escaped there are still as many as 276 missing, police said, according to the AP.
Today, the leader of the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and said he intended to sell the girls in the marketplace, according to a video obtained by the news agency AFP. The Nigerian government has demanded their safe return and the U.S. has said it will do all it can to help recover the girls.
The students were studying for final exams at their local school when the abduction happened. One girl told the New Yorker that militants dressed in Nigerian military uniforms came into their dorms and told the girls they were being taken to a safe space. They were placed in trucks and on motorcycles and driven away as the militants shouted “Allahu akbar,” which means God is great. Some managed to escape by jumping off the caravans and running away.
The girls inspired a worldwide protest on social media this weekend under the hashtag “#BringBackOurGirls,” and there are as many as 276 missing.
The Northern States Christian and Elders Forum, a group of elders in the state where the girls were taken, released a list of 180 names that were confirmed to be among the missing and said that a majority of them are Christian.