More than 50 of the girls abducted by
militant Islamists in Nigeria last year
were seen alive three weeks ago, a
woman has told the BBC.
She saw the girls in the north-eastern
Gwoza town before the Boko Haram
militants were driven out of there by
Boko Haram sparked global outrage
when it seized more than 219 girls from
Chibok town a year ago.
The US, China and other foreign powers
promised to help find the girls.
However, the girls have never been
traced, and little has been heard of
them since they were taken from their
The whereabouts of the remaining girls is
Campaign group Bring Back Our Girls
organised a silent march in Nigeria’s
capital, Abuja, on Wednesday to raise
public awareness about the abductions.
Boko Haram says the girls have been
studying Islam since their abduction
In an open letter, Nobel Peace Prize
winner Malala Yousafzai called on
Nigeria’s authorities and the
to do more to secure the release of the
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau
has said the girls have been converted
to Islam and married off, fuelling
concern that the militants had treated
them as war booty and sex-slaves.
Mr Shekau has pledged allegiance to the
Islamic State (IS), which is also
notorious for carrying out abductions in
Iraq and Syria.
The Nigerian woman, who lived under
Boko Haram’s rule in Gwoza, told the
BBC she saw the girls in Islamic attire,
being escorted by the militants.
“They said they were Chibok girls kept in
a big house,” said the woman, who asked
not to be identified for fear of
“We just happened to be on the same
road with them,” she added.
Three other women also told the BBC
they had seen the girls in Gwoza.
Boko Haram was believed to have turned
Gwoza into its headquarters after it
captured the town in August 2014.
Nigeria’s military, backed by troops from
neighbouring countries, recaptured the
town last month. The militants were suspected to have
fled to the nearby Mandara Mountains,
near the border with Cameroon.
It is unclear whether the girls are with
Another woman told the BBC she last saw
some of the girls in November at a Boko
Haram camp in Bita village, also in the
“About a week after they were brought
to the camp, one of us peeked through a
window and asked: ‘Are you really the
Chibok girls?’ and they said: ‘Yes’. We
believed them and didn’t ask them
again,” the woman said.
“They took Koranic lessons, cleaned
their compound, cooked for themselves
and they braided each others’ hair.
They were treated differently – their
food [was] better and water clean. ”
Nigeria’s outgoing President Goodluck
Jonathan has been widely criticised for
not enough to end the six-year
insurgency in the north-east, and to
secure the freedom of the girls.
Incoming President Muhammadu Buhari
has vowed to “crush” the insurgents.
He is due to be inaugurated on 29 May
after defeating Mr Jonathan in last
month’s presidential elections.
Boko Haram at a glance:
Founded in 2002, initially focused on
opposing Western-style education
Boko Haram means “Western
education is forbidden” in Hausa
Launched military operations in 2009
to create a sharia state
Thousands killed, mostly in north-
Has also attacked police and UN
headquarters in capital, Abuja
Abducted hundreds, including at
least 200 schoolgirls
Pledged allegiance to Islamic State
Culled from BBC
views expressed are not necessarily the opinion of blog author.