By Nsenga K. Burton Ph.D.
The internet is buzzing with news that two of the 276 schoolgirls kidnapped from a Christian school by Boko Haram eight years ago in Chibok, Nigeria, have been found. The BBC is reporting the Nigerian army has found two more of the female students abducted by Boko Haram. Both abductees were found with children and gave birth while in captivity. Other victims of the mass abduction have described being forced to convert to Islam and marry the group’s fighters.
The two abductees were found at a military medical facility. The 276 girls were abducted from their school dormitories April 14, 2014 by notorious Islamic militant group Boko Haram. Fifty-six of the girls were able to get away from their captors by jumping off the transport and running into the bushes, while the others remained in captivity and were forced to convert to Islam and marry their captors. The brazen abduction became an international cause with political leaders, celebrities and activists calling for their safe return.
Between 2016 and 2018, three Chibok girls were found or rescued in the Sambisa forest hideout of Boko Haram by the Nigerian military, while 103 were freed following negotiations between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram. The freed girls were rehabilitated at a government facility and sent to an American school in Nigeria.
Nigerian activist and former World Bank vice-president Obiageli “Oby” Ezekwesili led the global campaign to free Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram extremists. Ezekwesili started the #BringBackOurGirls campaign and co-founded Transparency, one of the world’s leading organizations dedicated to combating government corruption. In 2018, Ezekwesili unsuccessfully ran for president of Nigeria.