Renewed hope of finding remaining Chibok girls after two are found alive


Two of the 276 girls abducted on 14 April 2014 from their school in Chibok north of Nigeria by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram have been found.  Amina Nkiki was discovered with her four-month-old baby by soldiers working with a vigilante group near Damboa, south of Maiduguri in the remote northeastern Borno state where Boko Haram has waged a seven-year insurgency.  The army said it had detained a suspected Boko Haram militant called Mohammed Hayatu, who claimed to be Amina’s husband.

Among the 100 hostages rescued by soldiers a few days later was the second Chibok girl – Serah Luka from the northeastern town of Madagali, in the state of Adamawa, which borders Borno. When the girls first went missing an international social media campaign with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls that had the backing of celebrities including Michelle Obama went viral on Twitter and Facebook. 57 of the girls eventually escaped, but the remaining 217 girls rest are still thought to be held captive in Sambisa forest by Boko Haram.

“Amina’s rescue gives us new hope and offers a unique opportunity to vital information,” Buhari, a 73-year-old former military ruler, said during a meeting with the teenager, her mother and officials after a presidential jet flew her to Abuja.

Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja commented “the release of the kidnapped girls is an important signal” and added  “The question we must ask is: why have the girls so far not been found two years after the kidnapping?”

“In recent months several hundred women and children abducted by Boko Haram have been freed by army operations,” the Cardinal explained “but the Chibok girls have special value, because the international media was mobilised in their support. It seems that Boko Haram have hidden them more carefully than the other hostages.” He said that the fact these two Chibok girls were found “is a sign that finally Boko Haram is collapsing”. The Archbishop of Abuja admitted his concern for the health of these kidnapped girls, who were used by Boko Haram as a “reward ” for its men.

The overall security situation in Nigeria remains a concern. The same Cardinal Onaiyekan recently has been involved in an ambush on the road attributed to Fulani herdsmen. “I can not say whether or not they were Fulani herdsmen who shot my car, because I was in the woods and did not see anyone,” said the cardinal. “It was probably an ambush on the road, like the many who unfortunately happen in Nigeria rather than an attack on my person. The violence of the Fulani herdsmen is a problem that must be solved by searching for the interests of all, but the general insecurity in the country is the most worrisome” concludes the cardinal.

ACN Malta