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1200 days: 113 Chibok girls still in Boko Haram captivity

1200 days: 113 Chibok girls still in Boko Haram captivity

Nigeria

It is exactly 1,200 days since 276 schoolgirls were abducted in April 2014 by Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram after a raid of their school’s dormitories at night in the northern town of Chibok.

Over 50 girls managed to escape at the time, leaving 219; and in May 2016, another girl escaped.

Later in October last year, 21 girls and a baby were released after negotiations facilitated by the International Red Cross and the Swiss government.

A girl was also found by Nigerian troops on January, 5, 2017 with a baby and confirmed to be one of the missing Chibok schoolgirls. Another girl was also rescued in the Sambisa forest where the group is based.

A few weeks after marking three years since the girls were abducted, 82 of the girls were released in May this year with the support of local and international NGOs, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss government.

This leaves 113 girls in the hands of the terrorist group led by Abubakar Shekau.


Action

The Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said on the thousandth day of their abduction that the release of the girls remains a priority and the security forces remain resolute to free the girls.

He also hoped, just as the parents of the girls and the entire world, that the girls will be released soon.

Meanwhile, the youngest-ever Nobel Prize Laureate and Pakistani activist for human rights and female education Malala Yousafzai with the support of the advocacy group #BringBackOurGirls is calling for action.

Like Malala, President Buhari sympathised with the parents of the girls who have visited the presidential palace in Abuja several times for information on their children.


Support

The world is still dumbfounded as to what the girls are going through in the care of the notorious terrorist group which is losing its battle with the Nigerian military.

#BringBackOurGirls campaigners are still vocal with the call for President Buhari’s government to exert more pressure on the group to release the girls.

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has also called on the Nigerian government to step up efforts to rescue all the girls abducted by Boko Haram and to ensure they return to school without stigma.

42 girls out of the first 56 girls who escaped Boko Haram captivity graduated from secondary school on July 25.

The recently released girls underwent rehabilitation and reunited with their families. They are expected to be in school by the start of the new academic year in September to complete their secondary school education.


Hope

Parents of the remaining 113 girls only have hope to console them as negotiations are ongoing to free their daughters.

The government has hinted that more girls could be released as talks were still ongoing since 82 girls were released after negotiation with their abductors.

The government continues its counter-insurgency on the militants in the country’s northeast alongside talks for the release of all captives they are currently holding.

The activities of the group threaten the entire Lake Chad region that spans parts of Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

Boko Haram has killed about 20,000 people and forced more than 2 million people to flee their homes since 2009 in an insurgency aimed at creating a state adhering to strict Islamic laws in the northeast of Africa’s most populous nation.

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