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Missing Nigeria Schoolgirls

Nigerian Mothers Wait in Anguish For The Return of Missing Girls

A short time ago, everyone in our news editing room suddenly went silent, as we watched the latest video to emerge from northeast Nigeria, where 300 girls were kidnapped by Islamic militants 24 days ago.

Across our TV screens for the first time, we saw more than a 100 loved ones of missing girls, most of them mothers, step into public view. Until now we'd been told, these families didn't want their faces known, for fear of being stigmatized by the assumption their daughters have been raped.

But now it appeared their desperation, more than three weeks after the kidnappings, could not be contained.

And neither could their tears. They cried out for their daughters, sobbing openly in this place where people rarely show their emotions in public.

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One mother said she would rather have died than to see her daughter kidnapped in this way.

These girls were the greatest hopes of their families, striving for an education in a place where only 25 percent of girls are literate, aspiring to be teachers and doctors.

Most of the schools in the area had been closed because of a terror campaign by the extremists, called Boko Haram.

The kidnapped girls knew going to school was risky, but they wanted to take their physics exams.

And now their parents wait in anguish, fearing it may be too late to find them.