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Lamentations as 14 Chibok girls return to parents with 24 grand children

…Those who rejected the ‘marriage’ suffered brutalities – Amnesty Int’l

…95 still in captivity.

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

Mixed reactions might have greeted parents of 276 kidnapped students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, in Borno State.

While some appear to be happy over the return of their children – after nine years in captivity – others have expressed sadness, having to bear the additional burden of catering for 24 grandchildren whose fathers they do not know.

The 24 kids were born by 14 of the rescued schoolgirls for terrorist commanders they were forced to marry, while being held in the jungle.

One of the girls, identified as Yana Pogu, who was rescued last year with her four children, reportedly gave birth to a set of twins four months before she was rescued.

Amnesty International quoted one of the parents as saying, “Our pain is endless because 14 of the girls came back with 24 children. We have with us grandchildren whose fathers are unknown to us.

“Our burden has now multiplied as we do not have the money to bear the additional burden of feeding, educating, and providing healthcare for our returnee children and grandchildren.” And while speaking about the societal rejection and stigma, she said, “We are just hopeless.”

One of the early rescued Chibok girls told Amnesty International that “The Nigerian Government should not forget about the remaining 98 girls. They should be rescued. Every morning I wake up and recall the condition I left them in, I cry; I feel sorry for them. Nine years is too long to be in such a deplorable condition. The government must fulfill its promise of rescuing all the girls.”

Amnesty International said the victims’ parents were concerned that the girls, who refused to be ‘married’ by Boko Haram, are suffering brutal treatment every day.

About 57 of the students were said to have escaped soon after the attack, as they jumped from the vehicles in which they were being transported, while others have been rescued at different times by the Nigerian troops.

Since the Chibok schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram, a number of schools have been targeted, with girls being abducted, raped, killed or forced into marriages.

Parents whose children are still being held by Boko Haram lamented that the Nigerian authorities no longer communicated with them.

Acting Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Isa Sanusi, said, “Parents of the 98 Chibok schoolgirls, who are still being held by Boko Haram – as well as other children abducted by gunmen, are living in anguish, knowing that their children are in the hands of ruthless individuals who subject their loved ones to chilling brutalities.”

Leah Sharibu was one of the 110 female pupils of the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, who were abducted on February 19, 2018, by Boko Haram terrorists.

While others were released by the terrorists, following negotiations, Leah, then 14 years old, is still being held captive because she refused to renounce her Christian faith. Now a mother, Leah has spent years in Boko Haram captivity.

It was learnt that threats of further attacks had led to the closure of over 600 schools in the North.

Boko Haram had abducted the female students from their school in Chibok, Borno State, in April 2014.

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