• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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From dorm to doom: A timeline of the Chibok kidnapping

Chibok girls: 10 years after, 5 pressing issues

April 2014

On the night of 14–15 April 2014, 276 mostly Christian female students aged 16 to 18 were abducted from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria, by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram.

Fifty-seven of the schoolgirls escaped immediately after the incident by jumping from the trucks on which they were being transported, and others have been rescued on several occasions by the Nigerian Armed Forces.

May 2014

May 4: The then Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan addressed the kidnapping publicly for the first time saying the government was doing everything possible to find the missing girls.

He has accused the parents of the victims for failing to provide enough information about their missing children, claiming that they were not fully cooperating with the police.

May 5: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. Shekau claimed that “Allah instructed me to sell them…I will carry out his instructions,” and that “slavery is permissible in my religion, and I shall capture people and make them slaves.” He claimed that the girls should not have been in school and should instead have been married, claiming that girls as young as nine are suitable for marriage.

May 24: after President Goodluck Jonathan met with US, Israeli, French, and British foreign ministers in Paris, where the consensus was that no deals with terrorists should be struck, and that a force-based solution was required.

May 26, the Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff announced that Nigerian security forces had located the kidnapped girls, but that a forceful rescue attempt had been ruled out due to concerns about collateral damage.

30 May, a civilian militia discovered two of the kidnapped girls raped, “half-dead,” and tied to a tree in the Baale region of Northeastern Nigeria. According to villagers, Boko Haram abandoned the two girls and killed and buried four other disobedient girls. Later in the year, four more girls escaped, walking for three weeks and reaching safety on October 12th. They claimed they were raped every day in a camp in Cameroon.

June 2014

On June 26, thehill.com reported that the Nigerian government had signed a contract worth more than $1.2 million with Levick, a public relations firm based in Washington, D.C., to work on “the international and local media narrative” surrounding the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls.

July 2014

On July 1, a businessman suspected of carrying out the schoolgirl kidnappings as well as the bombing of a busy market in northeastern Nigeria was apprehended. According to military sources, he was also accused of assisting the Islamist militant group in the assassination of traditional leader Idrissa Timta, the Emir of Gwoza.

Two weeks later, Zakaria Mohammed, a high-ranking Boko Haram member, was apprehended on the Darazo-Basrika Road while fleeing counter-insurgency operations in the Balmo Forest.

March 2015

According to worldwatchmonitor.org, Stephen Davis, a former Anglican clergyman, contacted three Boko Haram commanders who said they might be willing to release the Chibok schoolgirls and traveled to Nigeria in April 2015.

He was shown proof of life (a video of them being raped) and told that 18 of them were seriously ill, some of whom had HIV.

January 2016

In January, the Nigerian military released 1,000 women and girls held captive by Boko Haram in the village of Boboshe, but none of them were Chibok girls.

Boko Haram released another video in April depicting 15 girls who appeared to be Chibok girls, at which point at least 219 of those kidnapped remained unaccounted for.

May 2016

Amina Ali Nkeki, a Chibok schoolgirl, was discovered on May 17 in the Sambisa Forest by the vigilante Civilian Joint Task Force group, along with her baby and Mohammad Hayyatu, a suspected Boko Haram militant who claimed to be her husband.

On May 19, she met with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

August 2016

In August, the Nigerian military claimed to have launched an air strike on Boko Haram’s headquarters in the Sambisa Forest, killing several commanders and seriously injuring leader Abubakar Shekau.
According to later reports, the attack also killed ten of the Chibok girls and injured 30 others.

Later that month, Boko Haram released a video of what appeared to be 50 Chibok girls, some of whom were holding babies, with an armed masked spokesman demanding the release of jailed fighters in exchange for the girls’ freedom.

According to the masked gunman, some of the Chibok girls were killed by Nigerian air strikes, and 40 were married. The film was reportedly released on the orders of Abubakar Shekau, the leader of one of Boko Haram’s factions.

October 2016

Boko Haram released 21 Chibok schoolgirls in October after talks brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss government between the group and the Nigerian government.

A child born to one of the girls and estimated to be about 20 months old by medical personnel was also released.

November 2016

On November 5, a girl named Maryam Ali Maiyanga was discovered with a baby and rescued by the Nigerian Army.

Sani Usman, the army’s spokesman, stated that she was discovered in Pulka, Borno State, while screening escapees from Boko Haram’s Sambisa forest base. Bring Back Our Girls confirmed she was one of those kidnapped in Chibok.

January 2017

Rakiya Abubakar, one of the kidnapped girls, was found by the Nigerian Army on 5 January, along with a 6-month-old baby, while they were interrogating suspects detained in army raids on the Sambisa forest. Her identity was later confirmed by the Bring Back Our Girls organization.

May 2017

On May 6, 82 more schoolgirls were released as a result of successful negotiations between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram, which included the exchange of five Boko Haram leaders.

Mustapha Zanna, a barrister and the owner of a Maiduguri orphanage, handled the negotiations. The deal also included the intervention of the Swiss government’s foreign ministry’s human security division and the Red Cross.

3 million Euros (approximately 3.7 million US dollars) in two duffel bags were paid as ransom money for the release of 103 girls between October 2016 and May 2017. According to a Nigerian government spokesman, despite the fact that 83 girls were scheduled to be released in May 2017, one of them chose to remain with her husband rather than be released.

June 2017

In June 2017, a photo of US President Donald Trump meeting two of the Chibok schoolgirls went viral.

On June 27, US President Donald Trump met with Chibok schoolgirls Joy Bishara and Lydia Pogu at the White House, who were about to begin their studies at Southeastern University in Florida. Bishara and Pogu presented Trump with a letter in which they urged him to “keep America safe and strong.”

Read also: Nigeria fails 109 missing Chibok girls 8 years after abduction

January 2018

On January 4, the Nigerian military announced that it had rescued Salomi Pogu, another of the kidnapped girls.

According to Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, she was rescued near Pulka, Borno. She was discovered with another young woman and her child.

February 2018

In February 2018, the majority of the released girls were enrolled at the American University of Nigeria, which is located not far from the original scene of the kidnapping in Chibok.

It was estimated that 13 girls were presumed dead, while 112 remained unaccounted for.

September 2018

Ali Garga, a Boko Haram militant, offered to free 40 of the remaining Chibok schoolgirls in September 2018. When other Boko Haram members discovered what he was up to, he was tortured and killed.

October 2019

On October 2, 2019, it was exactly 2,000 days since the abduction of 276 schoolgirls on April 14, 2014, from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State.

The town of Chibok has never been the same since the infamous abduction of schoolgirls five years ago, which drew global attention to it.

January 2021

In January 2021, an unknown number of girls escaped. Parkinson and Hinshaw published a book based on interviews with the girls, former militants, spies, and government officials titled “Bring Back Our Girls: The Astonishing Survival and Rescue of Nigeria’s Missing Schoolgirls” in 2021.

Much of the book was based on a diary kept by Naomi Adamu, 24, one of the girls kidnapped and released in 2017. Adamu described her experiences, including how they were subjected to daily Quran lessons and were regularly beaten with rifle butts, rope, and wire.

Girls who refused to marry were not sexually abused; however, they were treated as slaves and forced to perform hard manual labor. She led a group of defiant girls who refused to convert to Islam and were threatened by militants with death and starvation.

May 2021

Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima called on all Muslims and Christians to participate in “three days of prayers and fasting” on May 9.

On the same day, Muslims in Cameroon urged their followers not to marry any of the girls if they were offered to them.

Also, Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, joined other Muslim religious leaders in condemning the kidnappings, describing Boko Haram as misguided and intent on smearing the name of Islam. He stated that kidnapping is against Islam and that marrying kidnapped girls is forbidden.

Amnesty International estimated in 2015 that the Islamic terrorist group had abducted at least 2,000 women and girls since 2014, many of whom had been forced into sexual slavery.

Some have spoken about their capture at international human rights conferences. Boko Haram has used the girls as bargaining chips in prisoner swaps, offering to release some of the girls in exchange for the release of some of their captured commanders.