Rep. Frederica S. Wilson hosts forum and press conference on Boko Haram, the Missing Chibok Girls and the Humanitarian Crisis in the Lake Chad Region The anniversary of the abduction of nearly 300 school-girls by the world’s most deadly terrorist group is not something the world should have to mark, but it also must not be ignored. To help keep global attention on the 219 Chibok girls who are still missing two years after Boko Haram kidnapped them from their dormitory rooms, and to provide an update on efforts to end the insurgents’ reign of terror, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson on April 14, 2016, hosted a forum titled “Two Years Later: The Missing Chibok Girls, Boko Haram and the Humanitarian Crisis in the Lake Chad Region.” It featured experts in counterterrorism and humanitarian activities, including Malcolm Nance, executive director of the Terror Asymmetrics Project on Strategy, Tactics and Radical Ideology, who frequently provides analysis of terrorist acts and activities on CNN, MSNBC and other major networks. The Florida lawmaker also published an op-ed in the Sun Sentinel newspaper, titled “African Lives Matter.” “This is an anniversary that none of us thought that we would have to mark, because we thought by now we would have found the Chibok girls, and they would have been returned to their homes, to their parents, and we would just be fighting Boko Haram,” the congresswoman told reporters at a press conference that followed the forum. She also reiterated her commitment to never give up hope that the girls may still be found, adding that “we will never give up and should never give up until we bring each and every one of the girls home.” And rightly so. The network CNN has obtained a “proof of life” video from a source “close to the negotiations” for the girls’ release. It was shot on Dec. 25, 2015, and in it they appear to be in good health. The girls said they were being treated well but were anxious to return home. “I just wish I can talk to them. I just wish they can hear me. I just wish I can tell them how much we miss them. And I just wanted to tell the world that, let’s not give up. Let’s not forget about these girls. Let’s keep praying for them,” Saa, who managed to escape from Boko Haram on that night two years ago, told reporters at the press conference. She is one of about 50 Chibok girls who have relocated to the United States to continue the educations that Boko Haram tried to steal from them. Several lawmakers joined Rep. Wilson to denounce the devastating impact that Boko Haram’s senseless acts of violence is having in Nigeria and its neighboring nations. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi in her remarks noted how important it is for lawmakers and everyday citizens to stand up for the Chibok girls. “The women of the House add our voices to the world chorus demanding the return of hundreds of precious girls kid-napped from their boarding school in Nigeria two years ago,” Leader Pelosi said. “Brazen acts of brutality against innocent children anywhere challenges the conscience of concerned citizens everywhere. We must act. We must not rest until they are all free. We must bring back our girls.” Leader Pelosi also commended Rep. Wilson’s persistent determination and leadership of the Bring Back Our Girls movement in the United States. “You are the one who has brought us together over and over again. On a regular and almost daily basis, [the girls] are remembered in the Congress of the United States under the leadership of a very special person, Frederica Wilson – a persistent, impatient, dissatisfied, relentless advocate for their release.” On April 16, Rep. Wilson appeared on MSNBC to discuss the two year anniversary. In the interview she remarked on the international community’s double standard in the way it treats Boko Haram compared to the focus it gives ISIS, and how little attention the West African terrorists’ victims have received from both the public and the media. “It’s wrong and I’m fighting to make it equal because African lives matter, too. These girls were in school trying to get an education. Boko haram believes that western education is forbidden. We’ve got to make sure that we grieve and mourn for the African lives, just like we grieve and mourn for the other victims of terrorism,” Rep. Wilson said.
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