Displaying items by tag: Chibok girls
In 2014, militants stormed a boarding school in Chibok and kidnapped 276 girls. Dozens escaped almost immediately; another girl was found in May 2016. After government/Boko Haram negotiations, 21 more girls were released, then 82 were freed in a prisoner swap in 2017. Since then, nothing had been heard of the remaining captives, until Halima Ali Maiyanga called her father to say she had managed to escape on 28 January. ‘She asked me, Is this my daddy? and she started crying. The crying was so much I couldn't hear her very well. I was crying too. I never expected to hear from her again. Our house is full of people rejoicing with us.’ Halima and others are safe and being looked after by the Nigerian army. While we praise God for their escape, please continue to pray for the remaining girls and their families.
Five years ago, 230 girls were abducted in Chibok by Boko Haram. Parents whose daughters have not yet returned say it still feels like a ‘fresh wound’ but refuse to give up hope. Boko Haram set classrooms ablaze and told the girls they were under attack while they pretended to protect them. They herded them into trucks, drove into the forest and subjected them to rape, pregnancy, violence, and death. Those who did not obey militants or refused to renounce their Christian faith were punished severely; there are suggestions that some of them were forced to become Boko Haram fighters and commit murders for the group. 165 of the girls belonged to the Nigerian Church of the Brethren. Pray for parents like Yana, whose daughter has not returned. ‘Any time I speak about Rifkatu, I feel so much pain in my heart’, she said. ‘When she was kidnapped, laughter ceased in my house.’
On 25 February, Nigeria's information minister had a meeting with the family members of 110 girls who were abducted a week earlier. The frustrated families had criticised the government for taking so long to acknowledge the abduction. They presented the minister with a list of names of the missing girls, and complained that officials were being slow to respond. The girls’ fate is not known, but witnesses said the Islamic extremists specifically asked where the girls’ school was located. Some eyewitnesses reported seeing young women taken away at gunpoint. Air Force spokesman Olatokunbo Adesanya said that efforts to locate the girls are being conducted in close liaison with other security forces. It is feared the girls will become brides for Boko Haram extremists. Nigeria's president said no effort will be spared to locate them.
On Sunday the Bring Back Our Girls Group (BBOG) applauded the federal government and security agencies on the release of 82 more Chibok girls. Their release was negotiated through the combined efforts of security agencies, the military, the Swiss government, the Red Cross, and local and international NGOs. 21 girls had been set free last October, and the government committed to rescuing the 113 girls who are still captive. A spokesperson for the Young Women Political Forum urged the ministry of women’s affairs and the ministry of health to work together to provide the girls and their parents with adequate psychological counselling. Pray that communities will accept these victims of rape, who are now mothers with babies and no husbands. See also the Prayer Alert world article 3.
The ordeal of being kidnapped by Boko Haram does not end with their release. It is the start of a long struggle back into family and community life. The Chibok ‘children’ who have been freed are now young women. An already fraught transition from adolescence to womanhood has been complicated by their captivity. They will be reunited briefly with families over the coming days. There will be tearful reunions and a mixture of emotions, as both parents and daughters will have changed a great deal over the past three years. Then the young women will go through a process of reintegration or rehabilitation. This is either government care or government custody, depending on the need. Some families support the process;, others are angry that they will not have their daughters back even after they have been released from Boko Haram.