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Six Months After 200 Nigerian Girls Were Abducted, Here's What's Being Done

Humanitarian organizations and the parents of the kidnapped girls are calling on the Nigerian government to do more. President Obama has ordered the U.S. to do "everything it can to help the Nigerian government find and free the abducted girls."

Posted on October 14, 2014, at 6:37 p.m. ET

On April 14, the terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped approximately 270 schoolgirls who were studying for their final exams at the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria.

A member of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group on the 140th day of the abduction of 219 schoolgirls.
Afolabi Sotunde / Reuters

A member of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group on the 140th day of the abduction of 219 schoolgirls.

Stealing the girls was one of many horrific acts committed by Boko Haram over the past six months. The jihadi group abducted hundreds of other men, women, and children and has killed 3,000 people in Nigeria this year alone.

For months after the kidnapping, the group has been holding towns and villages hostage, forcing people to flee to refugee camps. In August, the terrorist organization reportedly kidnapped more than 100 men and boys. In July, it was suspected of killing dozens in two bombings.

A girl rubs her eye beside her father in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Wurojuli, Gombe State. The camp was set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants.
Stringer / Reuters

A girl rubs her eye beside her father in an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Wurojuli, Gombe State. The camp was set up for Nigerians fleeing the violence committed against them by Boko Haram militants.

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Some of the kidnapped girls have escaped: On Tuesday, four walked to freedom after being held for six months, according to The Times of London. In June, more than 60 girls successfully fled captivity.

But despite promises from the Nigerian government, the U.S., and other allied nations to find the girls, most are still missing.

Two parents whose daughters were kidnapped spoke to the BBC and called on the Nigerian government to do more. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has also received strong criticism from humanitarian organizations and activists for not doing enough.

A #BringBackOurGirls campaigner addresses supporters at the Unity Fountain on the 100th day of the abductions.
Afolabi Sotunde / Reuters

A #BringBackOurGirls campaigner addresses supporters at the Unity Fountain on the 100th day of the abductions.

"We have serious concerns about the response of the Nigerian government," Amnesty International's managing director for advocacy and policy, Adotei Akwei, told BuzzFeed News.

"The government continues to not provide information about its activities," said Akwei. "There is a lack of transparency that started with the government's failure to respond just before the attack happened and has continued to the present."

"President Jonathan and his administration have not provided adequate communication with and support for the families of the girls who have been abducted."

Members of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group demonstrate under a bridge on the 140th day of the abduction.
Afolabi Sotunde / Reuters

Members of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group demonstrate under a bridge on the 140th day of the abduction.

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The U.S. has now committed to taking a "more concerted, effective, and responsible" action to get the children released safely, the White House said in a news release on Tuesday.

#BringBackOurGirls campaigners hold a candlelight vigil.
Afolabi Sotunde / Reuters

#BringBackOurGirls campaigners hold a candlelight vigil.

In May, the White House sent a team of "civilian and humanitarian experts, military personnel, law enforcement advisers, and experts in hostage negotiations" to Nigeria to help advise how to recover the kidnapped children.

The team is still on the ground in Nigeria working to coordinate information and assist victims' families and survivors of Boko Haram attacks.

Amnesty International, however, is not convinced these programs will help.

"The Obama administration is in a hard situation because the entity they are working with — the Nigerian government — is itself the problem," said Akwei. "The government is not investigating the problem within the Nigerian military, and it's an impediment to bringing the kidnapped girls home."

A schoolgirl holds a Nigerian flag as she joins a parade marking Nigeria's 54th Independence Day in Lagos on October 1, 2014.
Akintunde Akinleye / Reuters

A schoolgirl holds a Nigerian flag as she joins a parade marking Nigeria's 54th Independence Day in Lagos on October 1, 2014.

The U.S. is also looking at broader plans to bolster education and stability within the African nation.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is introducing two new programs to help educate Nigerian children. One program will help provide education to refugees displaced due to Boko Haram violence. The other will work to bolster schools throughout Nigeria to give children a better education.

Working towards fixing larger human rights problems is a good longterm solution, according to Akwei.

"The administration needs to also not lose sight of the larger human rights concerns that are fundamental to whether the country is going to successfully deal with Boko Haram and other arms groups," he said.

Cameroonian hostages are released to their country's authorities after being kidnapped in raids blamed on Boko Haram.
REINNIER KAZE/AFP / Getty Images

Cameroonian hostages are released to their country's authorities after being kidnapped in raids blamed on Boko Haram.

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