The parents of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria are considering whether to hold funerals to mourn their loss, UN education envoy Gordon Brown said Thursday.
“It’s a Nigerian custom that if people are missing for four months or more, then closure is required, funerals take place, a period of mourning happens,” the former British prime minister told reporters at the United Nations.
“And this, tragically, is what is happening to parents in Nigeria who are giving up hope that the children will be returned to them.”
In April, extremist group Boko Haram abducted 276 girls from their school dormitories in Borno state in northern Nigeria. A total of 219 are still missing.
The mass abduction triggered global condemnation and a social media campaign that forced Nigeria into accepting foreign help to locate their whereabouts.
Brown said he did not want the funerals to take place and as there is every hope that the girls will one day return to their parents.