SEVERAL of the Government Secondary School (GSS) Chibok pupils abducted by Boko Haram seven years ago have managed to escape from the terrorists and are now being debriefed by the military in Borno State.
In 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from their boarding school in Chibok town in Borno State, sparking an international outrage. Following intense lobbying and negotiations, Boko Haram released 21 of the girls to the Nigerian government in 2016, then 82 more were freed in a prisoner swap programme in 2017 but 112 of the pupils are still being held.
Over the last 48 hours, some of these girls still in custody managed to escape and one of them, Halima Ali Maiyanga, managed to call her father to inform him that she is now free. Mr Ali Maiyanga, confirmed that they had spoken with his daughter and she is currently being looked after by the Nigerian Army.
Mr Maiyanga said: “She asked me, is this my daddy? and she started crying. The crying was so much and I couldn’t hear her very well. I was crying too. I never expected to hear from her again.
“The whole family is so happy. Our house is full of people who are rejoicing with us.”
It is not yet clear how many of the remaining missing girls have managed to escape. Dozens of girls escaped almost immediately after the mass abduction and another girl was found in May 2016 when she wandered out of a Nigerian forest asking for help.
Emmanuel Ogebe of the US-Nigeria Law Group (USNLG) said: “Today, a parent of still missing Chibok schoolgirls who USNLG supports informed us of the escape of additional schoolgirls six years and nine months after their abduction. 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 break was overjoyed at the news of her sibling’s escape.” Mr Ogebe is a Nigerian human rights lawyer who practices in the United States and has previously worked with some of the escaped Chibok girls and their families.