Furious, heartbroken Nigerians have taken to Twitter to demand that their government act with more urgency regarding the abduction of over 200 missing girls, taken by militants a fortnight ago. 230 girls were snatched in the middle of the night from a high school in the northeast of the country, an area notorious for the presence of Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group. The girls had been called to the school to resit an exam and are said to be aged between 16 and 18.
The hashtags #bringbackourgirls and #bringbackourdaughters have hit Twitter as people express their outrage at the government's lack of a coherent response strategy. The girls are still missing but there's a confidence that global attention forced onto the issue by social media interactions will embarrass the Nigerian government into a more dynamic rescue mission. However, a community leader told the BBC that many of the girls have already been sold into forced marriages, in what he described as a "medieval form of slavery." The Boko Haram group has its base in northern Nigeria, a notoriously lawless region of the country.
The social media campaign has gone global, as people from other countries attempt to force attention onto a crisis that many say would have garnered more media attention, and a greater international response if it was, for example, a missing plane. Twitter seems to be doing its job, with around 200 tweets per minute containing either of the hashtags. Who said Twitter was dead?
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