Local group holds vigil for kidnapped Nigerian girls

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – More than a dozen people gathered on the Courthouse Green Saturday morning for a vigil in honor the the kidnapped girls in Nigeria.

The Bring Back Our Girls rally was in support of the more than 270 girls kidnapped on April 14 from their boarding school in the town of Chibok, in the northern part of Nigeria. Members of the Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne organized the rally because the church has sister churches in Nigeria.

“If we could draw attention to the plight of our girls and save them, that is our goal,” Janet Mitchell, who organized the vigil, said.

The girls were kidnapped from their school by the Islamist group, Boko Haram which has received known training from groups with Al-Qaeda affiliations. More than 50 of the girls have escaped and have told stories of being beaten or married off to some of the captors. However, the real concern is the possibility of these girls being sold as sex slaves. On Monday, the leader of Boko Haram said he would sell the girls because there is a market for human trafficking. The United States government has sent aid to Nigeria.

“We are working as a nation very closely with Nigeria to try to put this to an end and get the girls back,” Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) said.

Some Hoosiers are confident the US efforts will help in the search, but many said they will continue to pray. At the vigil on Saturday, people tied ribbons to flowers representing each girl taken. Church members said they will deliver the flowers as well as written letters to their sister church in Nigeria. They are also inviting the community to write letters as well. They will be sending the packages off on Friday.

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