More Chibok girls have escaped from Boko Haram almost 7 years later, parents say
Emmanuel Ogebe, a Nigerian human rights lawyer who practices in the United States and has previously worked with some of the freed girls and their families, said a parent told him that his daughter and others have escaped their captors.
“Mr. Ali Maiyanga’s two daughters were part of the few Muslim schoolgirls taken with the majority Christian Chibok girls. Information currently available to us indicates that there are other escapees with the army whom parents are anxiously waiting to identify,” Ogebe said in a statement to ABC News late Thursday. “We spoke and confirmed from Mr. Ali Maiyanga moments ago that he in fact spoke with his daughter today, who informed him that she along with others were rescued. Her sister who escaped four years ago and is on school break was overjoyed at the news of her sibling’s escape.”
Posters supporting the #BringBackOurGirls movement are seen at the Falomo Roundabout in the Ikoyi neighborhood of Lagos, Nigeria, on Oct. 5, 2019. The movement marked 2,000 days since Boko Haram abducted 276 schoolgirls from the northeast Nigerian town of Chibok on the night of April 14, 2014.
Lawal Zannah, secretary of the Chibok Parents Association whose daughter was among those abducted, also relayed the news.
“We heard that some of our girls have escaped from the forest, but we are yet to get the detail about their number,” Zannah told reporters Thursday evening.
A march and vigil in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, April 14, 2015.
Another parent, Malam Madu Mutta, said the Chibok community is anxiously awaiting the girls’ arrival.
“We were told they are currently with the security operatives. We are yet to know the numbers, but we are happy that some of them escaped,” Mutta told reporters Friday. “So many other parents and relatives are coming from Chibok with hopes of meeting their daughters. Again, hope has risen that we can have some of them back again.”
Nigerian authorities have yet to officially confirm the matter. ABC News has reached out to the Nigerian military as well as local government officials.
This picture was taken on March 5, 2015, shows an aerial view of the charred classrooms of an all-girls boarding school in Chibok, northeastern Nigeria, where Boko Haram militants abducted 276 students on the night of April 14, 2014.
In April 2014, members of the jihadist group Boko Haram ambushed an all-girls boarding school in Chibok in the middle of the night and kidnapped 276 students before vanishing into the forest. Some of the girls managed to escape on their own, while others were later rescued or freed following negotiations. But the fate of many has remained unknown.
In this May 5, 2014 file photo, Chibok schoolgirls who escaped from Boko Haram militants gather to receive information from officials in northeast Nigeria.
Boko Haram, whose name in the local Hausa language roughly translates to “Western education is forbidden,” has waged a brutal insurgency in northeastern Nigeria since 2009. The group seeks to establish an Islamic state there, though it has spread its terror across the region’s mountainous borders over the years into Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, all of which surround the Lake Chad Basin, where millions have been affected by the violence, according to the United Nations.
Boko Haram pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2015. Its leader, Abubakar Shekau, and several commanders split from the group in 2016 over ideological differences and formed their own faction.
Relatives of abducted girls meet with President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari (C) after releasing 82 of schoolgirls, kidnapped by Boko Haram in Chibok back in 2014, at Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja, Nigeria on May 7, 2017.
Boko Haram’s uprising was fueled largely by the group’s systematic campaign of abducting children and forcing thousands of girls and boys into their ranks, according to a 2017 report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The group has been targeting Nigerian schools for a number of years, with the Chibok attack being the most well-known and widely publicized.
The kidnapping in Chibok shocked the world and led to the launch of a social media campaign in which millions of people around the globe, including high-profile political figures and celebrities, called for the girls’ rescue by tweeting the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. However, there has been little political action.
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