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It’s been 500 days since more than 276 Nigerian girls were abducted from a school in Chibok by militant group Boko Haram, and their families are still waiting on their return.

Thursday, people took to the streets all across Nigeria to remember the kidnapped girls and demand President Muhammadu Buhari’ government bring them home.

On Monday, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called for the girls’ release during a visit to Nigeria, calling their abduction “intolerable.” Pakistani human rights activist Malala Yousafzai penned an open letter to the girls, encouraging them to stay strong.

“We cannot imagine the full extent of the horrors you have endured. But please know this: we will never forget you. We will always stand with you,” Yousafzai wrote. “Today and every day, we call on the Nigerian authorities and the international community to do more to bring you home. We will not rest until you have been reunited with your families.”

Back in April, President Buhari told his compatriots he can’t promise his government will locate the abducted girls because many have been married off, sold into sex trafficking, or transported into neighboring countries.

“We do not know if the Chibok girls can be rescued. Their whereabouts remain unknown,” he said in a statement.  “As much as I wish to, I cannot promise that we can find them.”

Despite vowing to eradicate Boko Haram, Buhari’s government seems to be struggling to make headway against the terrorist group, and the families of the missing girls are frustrated by the lack of progress.

“The government’s response has been very slow,” Esther Yakubu, the mother of a missing girl, told Al Jazera. “If these girls were their biological daughters I don’t think they would still be missing. It’s because they don’t care about the poor.”

People around the world marked the solemn occasion on Twitter.

A multi-national armed force from Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin is expected to launch an offensive against Boko Haram soon.

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