About 300 teenaged girls were abducted from their school in Nigeria on April 15. Police have said that some were able to escape but 276 remain kidnapped.
Gunmen abducted the girls from their dormitories at the Government Girls Secondary school in Chibok. 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 of the girls have been taken across Nigeria's borders, to Chad and Cameroon, to be sold into marriage, according to the Associated Press.
A leader of the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility today for the kidnappings. The group's name means "Western education is forbidden."
The leader, Abubakar Shekau, said "I abducted your girls" in a 57-minute video obtained by the AFP news agency. He also said he would sell them in the marketplace.
Boko Haram is known as "Nigeria's Taliban." It does not have historic ties with Al Qaeda but in recent years has employed Al Qaeda-type tactics, using improvised explosive devices, car bombs, and assassination to sow terror in Nigeria.
The group has gunned down churchgoers and set off bombs across Nigeria. Last month it bombed a bus stop in the capital, Abuja, and killed 71 people.
The Nigerian government has been criticized for not doing enough to rescue the girls. President Goodluck Jonathan has held meetings with security and school officials and made statements that "everything must be done" to rescue the girls, according to the AP.
Jonathan said he asked the United States for help rescuing the girls. He also said he asked Great Britain, China, and France for help with security, but it is unclear what, if anything, those countries are doing in response.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington will "do everything possible" to support the Nigerian government return the girls to their homes. The Pentagon said today it has not received a request for military help, but that help would likely come in the form of law enforcement or FBI help.
Protesters across Nigeria rallied this weekend to draw attention to the plight of the girls.
The Twitter hashtag "#BringBackOurGirls" has been trending at various points since the girls were taken, with many users from around the world demanding a swift rescue of the girls.