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Bring Back Our Girls: The Untold Story of the Global Search for Nigeria’s Missing Schoolgirls
Bring Back Our Girls: The Untold Story of the Global Search for Nigeria’s Missing Schoolgirls
By Joe Parkinson and Drew Hinshaw
432 pp, HarperCollins, 2021
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Parkinson and Hinshaw have written a powerful account of the jihadi terrorist group Boko Haram’s 2014 abduction of 276 students from the Government Girls Secondary School in the northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok, which generated an international social media campaign for their release under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. The authors spoke to around 20 of the girls who were abducted and later freed and gained access to the journal that one of them had managed to keep during her three years in captivity. The result is a fine-grained picture of their harrowing ordeal, during which they hid in a forest with their captors in precarious circumstances, while the Nigerian army led a desultory and ineffectual search for them. The book also relates the complex and multilayered negotiations for their release, which it suggests were complicated by the international notoriety the girls had gained, as it increased their value as hostages in the eyes of Boko Haram leaders. The narrative ends in 2017, when the negotiations resulted in the release of 82 of the girls. At least 100 of them are still missing today.