Boko Haram is still terrorizing Nigeria and all we can say is #BringBackOurGirls. It’s been 10 months since they kidnapped the Chibok tribe schoolgirls and a majority of them are still being hold hostage, only a small percentage of girls have managed to escape. Three of those girls, Abigail John, Dorcas Aiden, and the third escapee who requested to go unnamed have bravely spoken to the international media about their experiences.
John, Aiden and the third escapee are speaking up on what it was like to live under Boko Haram’s terrible rule. Some of the tactics the terrorist group have imposed upon the innocent girls include through coercion, converting them to extreme Islam and Muslim faith, while also preparing them to married off. In some cases, they have also trained the older kidnapped girls to fight against other women. And as their name flagrantly states, Boko Haram are against education and Western-influence education in particular. John told the Associated Press, “They told me the Chibok girls have a new life where they learn to fight. They said we should be like them and accept Islam.” She was held captive for a month.
Aiden was held for only two weeks, but even in time, there was no denying the fear Boko Haram placed in her. When she was kidnapped, she had just completed high school and was loyal to the Christian faith. Under Boko rule, she confirmed to AP that she was forced to be Muslim to prevent from getting beaten and threatened. Aiden plans to return to her initial dreams of attending college now that she is free.
The unnamed escapee, who is 16-year-old is the most recent girl to break away from Boko Haram. She was captured for four months. She’s remains scared about her experience and believes the terrorists are looking for her, but she’s consoled herself by attending a Catholic church in the Yola village. She confessed, as did John and Aiden, that she was tortured but not raped while captured, because according to the Haram, “They said they are doing the work of God, so they will not touch us.”
The #BringBackOurGirls campaign was an intriguing event of the power of social media last year, but also been used as an under critical view and used as an example of how hashtags are good but enough to bring social change. Especially when it is with an issue that is overseas. Users re-posted and re-tweeted and the efforts were genuine, but the young girls have not returned and opposing military action has been as slow as when Hurricane Katrina needed supplies and resources went from scarce to virtually non-existent. An Abuja tribe activist, Bukky Shonibare, quoted by AP, exclaimed disbelief in saying, “It’s devastating. It makes you wonder, what is being done?”
“What we’ve tried to do is help the Nigerian government deal with the problem. The Nigerian government has not been as effective as it needs to be in not only finding the girls, but in also stopping this extremist organization from being on their territory. So what we’re trying to do is mobilize other countries to try to give the Nigerian government more resources, and not just military equipment, but better intelligence, so they can track where these troops are and try to stop them.”
It is reported that while some girls have sought refuge through escaping, 219 are no longer with Boko Haram, but are missing. We’re hurt that our girls remain confined by the Boko Haram, and others gone and with not a trace in sight. Our thoughts and prayers are still with them and that more will find their out and to safety. It was incredibly brave of the three escapees to share what happened to them and they likely did so with hopes that the Nigerian and African government will take bringing back the other girls more seriously.