MANILA, Philippines — “Bring them back!”, chanted thousands of Filipino students from a Roman Catholic-run school for girls last Friday, as they took part in a global campaign to free more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamic extremists in Nigeria.
Approximately 4,000 grade school to college students and nuns of St. Scholastica’s College took to the streets, bearing placards that read “Bring Back Our Girls”, chanting the same, and urging cars to blow their horns as a sign of protest and solidarity; as they called for the release of the Nigerian girls held captive. The students decried the abduction and likewise expressed their stand that the girls are entitled to a proper education.
Celine Saplala, a nun and official of the college, said the rally was an appeal to the abductors to free the girls and respect “their right just like anybody else to pursue their dream for an education.” It was likewise intended to bring the situation to the attention of people the world over.
The kidnappings were carried out by members of the extremist Boko Haram, literally translated as “Western education is sinful,” who initially seized over 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria in April. Earlier this month, the group attacked several villages and abducted 91 more people; 60 of whom were girls and women, some married, and31 boys. Witnesses likewise were toddlers as young as 3-years-old.
The recent spate of attacks has highlighted anew the military’s failure to put a check on the Islamic uprising and the government’s inability to provide its people with security.