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Int'l Community Pushes for Recovery of 200 Kidnapped Christian Nigerian Girls

( [email protected] ) May 06, 2014 04:50 PM EDT

Nigeria Girls Kidnapping by Boko Haram
The international community has responded in various ways to Nigeria's pleas to bring back their girls. (Photo: Change.org)

Outrage has sparked throughout the international community following the horrific news of the kidnapping of over 200 primarily Christian schoolgirls in Nigeria by terrorist organization Boko Haram.

Secretary of State John Kerry pledged that "everything possible" will be done to rescue the girls, and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called the situation an "outrage and a tragedy."

"We are doing what we can to assist the Nigerian government to support its efforts to find and free the young women who were abducted," Carney stated.

On Monday, the group's leader Abubakar Shekau admitted that his group is responsible for the abducting the girls from Chibok, Borno State last month, and said that he plans to have them sold on the market.

"I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah," Shekau, said in the video translated by CNN.

"There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women."

Following reports that the girls are being sold as brides to the Islamic militants, devastated parents are calling on the Nigerian military and the government of President Goodluck Jonathan to do all they can to find the girls.

"I am so very sad because the government of Nigeria did not take care of our children and does not now care about our children," said the mother one of the kidnapped 15-year old girls, according to Fox News. "All we have left is to pray to God to help them and help us."

Boko Haram, which means "Western education is sin," has been waging war on the Nigerian government and the Christian population in Nigeria for nearly 5 years now, killing thousands in bombings on buildings, and shooting entire congregations, according to the International Christian Concern website. An estimated 2,500 people have been killed in 2014 alone by Boko Haram, many from known Christian communities.

Nearly two weeks after the abduction, the streets of Nigeria remain filled with people protesting to voice their unhappiness at the government's failure to ensure the safe release of the hostages.

"If 230 girls can go missing for this long and nobody knows how to find them, then something's very wrong with our country,' said Tokumbo Adebanjo, 45, a travel agent and mother. "'I feel the pain of those other mothers. Obviously the government are not doing their job."

According to the White House website, "combined resources [will] help save these girls and others like them from this terrorism." Thus, in the hope that pressure on Nigerian authorities will force them to recover the girls, campaigns have started on whitehouse.gov and Change.org, efforts that are certainly "worth trying," says Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times.

Thousands of celebrities, Christian groups and politicians are uniting, taking to social media to do what little they can to raise awareness and call for the girls' recovery using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.

"We want to help," Pastor Rick Alster posted on Facebook, "we want to know what we can do to bring these girls home."

"It's been two weeks since the kidnapping of 234 Nigerian girls and they still aren't home," tweeted singer Mary J. Blige.

Actors such as Sean Penn, Justin Timberlake and Ashton Kutcher tweeted pictures of themselves holding signs bearing the words "Real Men Don't Buy Girls."

Christian leaders are urging people around the world to pray for the missing girls, calling prayer the "most powerful way to make a difference."

"Christians, Please join in praying for the 270 plus girls kidnapped in Nigeria since last month by BOKO HARAM." tweeted popular pastor Tim Burt.

Christian singer Aaron Shust posted on his Facebook, "200 Girls kidnapped from school in Nigeria. Slavery threatened. Pray for their deliverance. Act."