Chibok schoolgirls reunited with their families
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. –