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02 December 2022

Chibok girls: 11 more find freedom

There is good news from Nigeria, with the release of 11 more women who were taken from Chibok in April 2014. There are now believed to be 96 still unaccounted for. Thank you for your continued prayers for the women and their families. 

Chibok girls

Thank you for praying for the Chibok girls and their families – your prayers are making a difference

Many of you continue to faithfully pray for the girls – now young women – still held captive after being taken from their school in Chibok in April 2014. We have good news to report, after the Nigerian government announced the release of 11 more women, together with at least 21 children who are among them. 

It’s now more than eight years since 275 girls had gathered for exams at Chibok Girls State Secondary School when Boko Haram militants arrived, pretending to be government security officials who had come to protect them. They coaxed the girls from their dorms onto trucks and headed for the Sambisa Forest. Before, during and shortly after the attack, 47 of the girls managed to escape.

Since then, the students have been released in batches, with a further 11 finding freedom since June. This includes Hauwa Joseph and her child, as well as Mary Dauda and her child, whose freedom we reported on in June. According to the Nigeria government, 96 women remain missing. 

"We have over 20 parents that died already from blood pressure-related complications" Dr Allen Manasseh

The names of the other women released are: Ruth Bitrus (with one child), Kauna Luka (with three children), Hanatu Musa (with two children), Aisha Grema (with two children), Falmata Lawal (with one child), Asabe Ali (with one child), Jinkai Yama (with three children), Yana (Iyagana) Pogu (with four children), Rejoice Senki (with two children).

Thank you so much for your committed prayers for these women. The international media coverage of this story has waned, but many Open Doors supporters have continued to pray for these women and their families. It is so much appreciated. 

The women and their children are being taken care of at the Bulunkutu Interim Care Centre in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State in north east Nigeria. Your prayers are needed as they begin their recovery and heal from their awful ordeals. It can also be hard for children fathered by militants to be accepted by their communities. Please pray that the children and their mothers will be welcomed, and that there would be no stigmatisation.

One of those recently released, Rejoice Senki, told a newspaper that she was violated constantly while in captivity, forcefully married to a Boko Haram fighter and pushed into converting to Islam. “If you don’t obey whatever they tell you, they will do whatever they like to you,” she said. 

Back to school

Encouragingly, some of those released are looking ahead to the future. In an interview with Vanguard, Mary Dauda – together with Ruth Ngalada and Hassana Adamu, who both escaped earlier this year – stressed their wish to return to education.

"We are in communication with our parents,” they said. “We are allowed to go and visit our parents and family members. We thank the government for what they have done for us, but we would like to move to our homes, to live with our families. If we are in our houses, we will feel better.” 

"We want the government to send us back to school,” they continued. “We heard that some of us who were taken away like us have gone back to school abroad. We want to go back and complete our education. This brings back our respect.”

More than 20 parents die due to protracted wait

Despite the government’s involvement in the release of the Chibok women, the parents of those still missing believe they are not doing enough to rescue their daughters. They allege that several attempts to get both the state and federal governments to talk to them about their daughters have failed, because the government apparently was not willing to discuss the matter with them. 

“If the government had told us that our daughters were dead, we will feel it for a while and forget about the pains, but in a situation where we are not sure that our daughters are dead, it becomes difficult to conclude that they have died and their memories kept coming. We are, however, hopeful that one day, they will return,” said one of the parents.

In the meantime, the agonising pain and uncertainty persists, with Dr Allen Manasseh of the BringBackOurGirls Movement (BBOG) saying that more than 20 parents of the women have died from health complications induced by the protracted wait for the return of their children.

“The level of engagement with the parents should change,” Dr Manasseh continues. “We have over 20 parents that died already from blood pressure-related complications; renal failure as a result of blood pressure.”

Open Doors continues to urge Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari to continue his efforts to liberate those held by Boko Haram militants, including young Christian women such as Leah Sharibu and those from Chibok who are still held captive, and create a family liaison position in government for the parents of those held.

Please pray
  • Give thanks for the release of these 11 women and their children
  • That they will heal of their trauma, and that they will be equipped and empowered to pursue their dreams
  • For the release of the remaining women, and Leah Sharibu, and that God will strengthen their parents as they wait for news. 
Invite your MP

Nigeria will feature in the World Watch List 2023 parliamentary launch, because of the growing violence facing Christians, particularly in the north. It is vital that our UK Government hears about this and the other ways Christians are targeted around the world. Help make sure the voices of our persecuted family are heard by inviting your MP to the launch. Thank you!


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