Par­ents of freed Nige­ria school­girls still wait to see them

Cape Breton Post - - World -

Par­ents of the 82 Nige­rian school­girls re­leased over the weekend from Boko Haram cap­tiv­ity said Wed­nes­day they still were await­ing word from the gov­ern­ment on ex­actly when they will be able to meet their daugh­ters.

Com­mu­nity lead­ers were headed from the cap­i­tal, Abuja, to the town of Chi­bok with pho­tos of the newly re­leased girls so that fam­i­lies can iden­tify them, pres­i­den­tial spokesman Garba Shehu said. “They will then or­ga­nize to bring the par­ents to Abuja to see their daugh­ters,” he said.

One fa­ther said he was thrilled to find out his daugh­ter was among those re­leased in ex­change for five Boko Haram com­man­ders. But Abana Ishaya said he can­not travel the long dis­tance from his home in north­ern Nige­ria to the cap­i­tal with­out the gov­ern­ment’s invitation and as­sur­ance that he will see her.

Boko Haram kid­napped 276 school­girls from the town of Chi­bok in April 2014, bring­ing the ex­trem­ist group’s deadly ram­page in north­ern Nige­ria to the world’s at­ten­tion. A first group of 21 girls was freed in Oc­to­ber and they have been in gov­ern­ment care since then, de­spite calls by fam­i­lies and hu­man rights groups for them to be re­leased to their loved ones.

“I’m very anx­ious to meet her so I can cel­e­brate with her and oth­ers that were freed, and also to pray for the re­main­ing ones who are still missing so they can be res­cued,” Ishaya told The As­so­ci­ated Press. “I re­ally want to see my daugh­ter, but I can’t come un­less with gov­ern­ment invitation.”

Fam­i­lies say 113 of the Chi­bok school­girls re­main missing. They are among thou­sands kid­napped by Boko Haram dur­ing its eightyear in­sur­gency that has left thou­sands dead and driven mil­lions from their homes.

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