Missing After 5 Years – 10 Facts About Nigeria’s Chibok Schoolgirls


London — As Nigeria marks the fifth anniversary of the abduction, here are 10 facts about the missing Chibok girls whose fate has largely disappeared in world news

When 276 schoolgirls were abducted from a school in Chibok in northeastern Nigeria five years ago by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, the world was outraged and their kidnapping dominated international headlines.

Almost 60 girls managed to escape in the melee following their abduction while others have been released in the last few years, but about 100 are still missing and their condition is unknown.

As Nigeria marks the fifth anniversary of the abduction on Sunday, here are 10 facts about the missing Chibok girls whose fate has largely disappeared in world news:

1. The abduction of 276 schoolgirls aged 14 to 25 from a school in Chibok in Nigeria’s northeast Borno state on April 14, 2014, was Boko Haram’s most high-profile kidnapping.

2. Boko Haram kidnapped thousands, killed more than 20,000 people, and forced about 2 million to flee their homes since it began an insurgency in 2009 aimed at creating an Islamic state in the northeast of Nigeria.

3. At least 4,000 girls, boys and women have been abducted by Boko Haram since 2009, according to a 2018 Amnesty International report, with reports that they were used as cooks, sex slaves, fighters and even carriers of suicide bombs.

4. A social media campaign on the schoolgirls’ abduction went viral, boosted by support from then U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and media celebrities. The #BringBackOurGirls hashtag was tweeted about 3.3 million times by mid-May 2014.

5. There was no sign of the girls until May 2016 when Amina Ali, 21, and her four-month-old baby were rescued in Borno state by soldiers and a civilian vigilante group.

6. In October 2016, 21 girls were released after mediation by Nigerian teacher and lawyer Zannah Mustapha, who went on to win a United Nations award for his efforts.

7. A further 82 girls were freed in May 2017 after mediation involving a payment to the insurgents and the release of some of the group’s imprisoned senior members.

8. Boko Haram released a video in January 2018 which purported to show five Chibok girls, some holding babies, who said they did not want to return home because they were happy living with the militants.

9. Nigeria sentenced Haruna Yahaya to 15 years imprisonment in February 2018, the first person to face justice for the Chibok kidnapping, as part of a mass trial of suspected Boko Haram members.

10. A newly released captive, 35-year-old Jumai, who was taken before the schoolgirl kidnapping, said in October 2018 that she had lived with six of the Chibok girls in the first good news to emerge after months of silence.

(Reporting by Hanna Resch and Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith @BeeGoldsmith and Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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