By Francis Emorut
Women in Uganda have broken the silence and demanded the release of 273 girls abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria.
The women on Wednesday demonstrated holding placards with messages “bring back our girls” and “we the women in northern Uganda demand Boko Haram to bring back our girls.”
The women in northern region said they still have fresh memories of the abduction of 139 girls from St.Mary's College Aboke in 1996 by the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) rebels during the insurgency in Acholi and Lango sub regions.
“We the women of northern Uganda have fresh memories of the abduction of Aboke girls and Lwala girls and massive episodes of sexual and gender based violence in horrendous conflict that lasted more than two decades perpetuated by Joseph Kony and his serving LRA rebels,” Raima Karim the chairperson of Arua district women councillors caucus said.
The women were joined by activists from Forum for Women in Democracy to demand the release of the girls.
The abduction of the girls a month ago has drawn worldwide condemnation of the Islamist militants with the US, France, Israel and China sending troops to Nigeria to search for the girls.
The Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has accepted the international community assistance but has rejected Boko Haram demands of swapping the girls for their members captured by the government.
The 273 girls were abducted in Kibo, Bonu state according to the recent released video that has gone viral are said to have converted to Islamic faith.
The campaign to release the girls is being spearheaded by the social media and in some countries demonstrations have been conducted.
“The girls need to enjoy peace with their families, they need pads, they need association of their community and all fundamental freedoms like we do,” the women said.
The Aboke girls were trekked by Sr. Rachella into South Sudan and the girl’s first question was “Sister have you brought pads?”
The women said that the holding of the Nigerian girls will not solve Boka Haram problems.
Charity Farida Yumbe, district chairperson women caucus disparaged those who associate terrorists to Muslims.
“The Islamist militants are after their own agenda and this should not be associated to Islamic faith,” Farida said.