Chi­bok school­girls re­united with their fam­i­lies

The Myanmar Times - - Work -

TWENTY-ONE of the over 200 miss­ing Chi­bok school­girls freed af­ter be­ing held by Nige­ria’s Boko Haram Is­lamists for more than two years spoke of their or­deal as they were re­united with their fam­i­lies.

Dur­ing a Chris­tian cer­e­mony held for them in the cap­i­tal Abuja on Oc­to­ber 16, a school­girl named Glo­ria Dame said they had sur­vived for 40 days with­out food and nar­rowly es­caped death at least once.

“I was ... [in] the woods when the plane dropped a bomb near me but I wasn’t hurt,” Ms Dame told the con­gre­ga­tion. “We had no food for one month and 10 days but we did not die. We thank God,” she said.

The cer­e­mony was or­gan­ised by Nige­ria’s se­cu­rity ser­vices which ne­go­ti­ated their re­lease. Most of the kid­napped stu­dents were Chris­tian but had been forcibly con­verted to Is­lam dur­ing cap­tiv­ity.

The Chi­bok girls were ab­ducted in April 2014, draw­ing global at­ten­tion to the Boko Haram in­sur­gency.

Of the 276 girls ini­tially seized, scores es­caped in the hours af­ter the kid­nap­ping, while an­other 19-year-old was found with her four-month-old baby ear­lier this year.

Garba Shehu, a spokesper­son for the Nige­rian pres­i­dency, told AFP, “The Mam­man Nur fac­tion of the Boko Haram has in­di­cated its will­ing­ness to ne­go­ti­ate the re­lease of more Chi­bok girls in their cus­tody.”

De­spite re­gain­ing swathes of ter­ri­tory from the ji­hadists, Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari has faced crit­i­cism for fail­ing to re­cover the young cap­tives, who be­came the sym­bol of Boko Haram’s bru­tal cam­paign. –

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