Minnesotans will rally for kidnapped Nigerians: 'Bring back our girls'


Minnesotans will join in the international movement demanding freedom for the schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria last month by holding a rally at the State Capitol Monday morning.

The "Minnesota Rally to Bring Back Our Girls" is being organized by Nigerians now living in Minnesota as well as other supporters. It's one of many demonstrations that have been held in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago in recent weeks, all designed to put more pressure on the Nigerian government to rescue the girls.

The militant group Boko Haram stormed a secondary school April 14 in the village of Chibok, Nigeria, and kidnapped the girls, according to the Chicago Tribune. Fifty of the girls escaped but more than 200 remain with their captors. Earlier this month a Boko Haram leader threatened to sell the girls "in the market."

The government of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has been criticized for its slow response to offers of help from the U.S., Britain and several other countries to help find the girls.

"Bring Back Our Girls" has become the rallying cry of protesters in Nigeria and throughout the world, as well as on social media. The campaign got another boost this weekend from Pope Francis and First Lady Michelle Obama, who both tweeted in support. Obama also released a video protesting the kidnappings.

"This unconscionable act was committed by a terrorist group determined to keep these girls from getting an education," she said.

A Nigerian woman now living in Minnesota will be one of the speakers at the Monday rally, KARE 11 reports. Bukola Oriola told the station when she was growing up, she went to a boarding school similar to the place where the children were taken.

Oriola came to the U.S. in 2005, and said she was held against her will for two years by a man she knew, who threatened and abused her, according to KARE 11.

Bukola, who now owns her own business, said she will tell the crowd about her personal experiences.

"We need those girls home and the captors apprehended immediately," she says.

The rally is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the State Capitol in St. Paul.

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