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Nigeria’s “Bring Back Our Girls” Movement Marks One Month Anniversary Of Schoolgirl Kidnapping

Leaders promise to march next to President Goodluck Jonathan.

1. A nighttime vigil in Abuja late Wednesday marked the 30th day in captivity of the 276 girls held by Boko Haram, the Islamist militant group that kidnapped them from their dormitory in Chibok, a village in northeastern Nigeria.

Photograph by Ruth McDowall for BuzzFeed

2. More than 250 people, many of whom have been attending daily rallies for two weeks, came out for the vigil in Abuja.

Photograph by Ruth McDowall for BuzzFeed

3. Other Nigerian cities have also held rallies, and they have been replicated in cities like Los Angeles, New York, Kingston, Jamaica, and even in Afghanistan, leader Oby Ezekwesili told the crowd.

Photograph by Ruth McDowall for BuzzFeed

4. “The global advocacy for the girls of Chibok started from local advocacy for the girls of Chibok,” Ezekwesili said. “The advocacy started online, and moved offline.”

Photograph by Ruth McDowall for BuzzFeed

She told the crowd that the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, which organizers have used to unite the movement and catalyze international attention, has been tweeted or retweeted more than 3 million times.

5. Hadiza Usman, who began the movement, said she was concerned not only about the kidnapped schoolgirls, but about the indifference of her fellow Nigerians to the suffering from ongoing Boko Haram violence in the north.

Photograph by Ruth McDowall for BuzzFeed

“We as a people were trying to develop a value system that was just about ‘me,’” she said, speaking of individualism. “That for me was worrisome… I felt the need to bring together like minds, even if it was just 10 of us.”

6. Two parents from Chibok thanked the crowd for the concern.

Photograph by Ruth McDowall for BuzzFeed

7. People were spirited.

Photograph by Ruth McDowall for BuzzFeed
Photograph by Ruth McDowall for BuzzFeed

9. And contemplative.

Photograph by Ruth McDowall for BuzzFeed
Photograph by Ruth McDowall for BuzzFeed

11. And occasionally light-hearted.

Photograph by Ruth McDowall for BuzzFeed

12. The vigil ended with prayers led by Christian and Muslim leaders.

Photograph by Ruth McDowall for BuzzFeed

13. The program went until nearly 1 a.m., and everyone was given a candle as they exited.

Photograph by Ruth McDowall for BuzzFeed
Photograph by Ruth McDowall for BuzzFeed
Photograph by Ruth McDowall for BuzzFeed
Photograph by Ruth McDowall for BuzzFeed

17. The group sang the song that has become their anthem. To the tune of John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance”: “All we are saying,” they sang, “is bring back our girls.”

Photograph by Ruth McDowall for BuzzFeed

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