Parents of freed Nigeria schoolgirls still wait to see them
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.