NIGERIA – Escaped girl tells her story
A girl called Sa’a who managed to escape her abductors recalls what happened that night when Boko Haram attacked the Chibok school two years ago. “They were all shooting guns and yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’,” she said. They burned the school and forced the captive girls into trucks.
Sa’a and her friend escaped by jumping out of the truck and hiding in the woods. Her friend injured her leg falling from the truck and told Sa’a to run away without her but Sa’a responded “If we are going to die, we are going to die together. I’m not going to leave you here.” Through the help of a Fulani herdsman, both girls eventually made their way back home.
Sa’a now attends college in the United States but was at first frightened to go back to school, even in another country: “I felt like if I go to school again, they will kidnap us wherever we are.” The Boko Haram attack was the second school attack she had suffered, and her captors had threatened the girls, saying that they should be married and not at school. Encouraged by her brother and friends not to let her horrific experience hinder her further education, Sa’a started college this year through the Education Must Continue Initiative.
Recently Sa’a spoke before members of Congress on Capitol Hill. Addressing the US House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, Sa’a said she dreamed of “a Nigeria where girls like me are not made into suicide bombers, and little boys are not routinely stolen and turned into terrorists. A Nigeria where (if) even the worst happens and children are stolen, every effort is made for their swift rescue, and those who can help, help, and those who can help can speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.” She concluded her testimony by saying “I dream and pray for freedom, safety, and peace to win in Nigeria.”
While in the US, Sa’a heard about Patrick Henry’s famous 1775 “Give me liberty or give me death” speech, which she identified with because “I realized that was exactly how I felt when I had to decide about jumping out of the truck to escape from Boko Haram.”
When a video thought to have been recorded last December showing 15 of her missing schoolmates was recently made public, Sa’a said she “cried with tears of joy, thanking God for their lives. Seeing them has given me courage to tell the world that we should not lose hope.” She is “always in touch” with her family back in Nigeria and with some of her schoolmates who also escaped from Boko Haram.