WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA9)--The anguish and concern over the fate of 276 abducted children in Nigeria was clear at a rally outside that African nation's embassy in Washington on Tuesday.The protest was to call attention to their plight and urge more action to ensure the girls' safety.
The demonstrators are demanding that the Nigerian government and military search for and rescue the kidnapped schoolgirls. And thanks in part to social media, the international community is now watching.
"These are innocent little girls," said Harrison Nwozo, of Laurel, Md.
Added Candis Cotter, who traveled from Frederick, Maryland to attend the rally, told us: "It's just heartbreaking to me that children could be kidnapped from a school."
An outpouring of concern has simmered over in Washington… raw anxiety over the kidnapped girls thousands of miles away.
"We're taking a stand. Enough is enough. We need the government to do more. They have to," said Nwozo.
The Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram snatched the girls from school as many were taking a physics exam. Their crime, according to the extremists: getting an education.
"Essentially, the girls that have been taken are my sisters, my daughters, my cousins, my allies. And I am theirs. And when they are silent, I will speak for them," said Goldie Deane, a resident of Washington, D.C.
It's believed that several girls have been sold into slavery—some already shipped to other African nations. Others may have been forced into marriage.
"Some of them are being sold for $12 as child brides. Makes me feel sick," said Cotter.
Added demonstrator Janet Aiyegbusi, "And by the grace of God, we will bring them back home safe. So, we have to be here."
The demonstration was timed to coincide with the World Economic Forum on Africa, which will be held in Nigeria over the next three days. The hope is to build international pressure on the Nigerian government as world leaders visit that African nation, which has the strongest economy.
Boko Haram has a history of targeting schools in Nigeria. Its name translated into English means "Western education is sinful."
Written by Andrea McCarren, WUSA9