Boko Haram Returns Kidnapped Girls, Warns Against Sending Back to School
The Nigerian terrorist group has released an unknown number of the 110 girls kidnapped from a boarding school last month.
AP (“Witnesses: Boko Haram returns Nigerian kidnapped schoolgirls“):
Boko Haram extremists have returned an unknown number of the 110 girls abducted from their Nigeria boarding school a month ago with an ominous warning, witnesses said Wednesday.
The fighters rolled into town around 2 a.m. in nine vehicles and the girls were left in the center of town. As terrified residents emerged from their homes, the extremists said “this is a warning to you all,” resident Ba’ana Musa told The Associated Press.
“We did it out of pity. And don’t ever put your daughters in school again,” the extremists told the residents of Dapchi. Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language.
It was not immediately clear how many of the 110 girls had been freed. Family members were en route to the town Wednesday morning.
The mass abduction and the government response brought back painful memories of the 2014 attack on a boarding school in Chibok. Boko Haram militants abducted 276 girls, and about 100 of them have never returned. Some girls were forced to marry their captors, and many had children fathered by the militants.
Residents in Dapchi fled on Wednesday morning upon hearing that Boko Haram vehicles were headed toward the town.
“We fled but, from our hiding, we could see them and surprisingly, we saw our girls getting out of the vehicles,” Umar Hassan told the AP.
“They assembled the girls and talked to them for some few minutes and left without any confrontation,” said another resident, Kachallah Musa.
Their release comes a day after an Amnesty International report accused the Nigerian military of failing to heed several warnings of the imminent attack last month. The military has called the report an “outright falsehood.”
Nigeria’s government celebrated the girls’ release. “GREAT NEWS from Dapchi, Yobe State. Thank God for the safe return of our sisters. Alhamdulillah!” an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, Bashir Ahmad, said on Twitter.
A breaking report from the Daily Post has five girls dead but I’m not seeing that elsewhere; let’s hope they’re wrong.
(As a side note, Boko Haram does not mean “Western education is forbidden” and technically hasn’t been the group’s name in several years, as they pledged fealty to and to the name of the Islamic State back in 2015.)