Boko Haram has released 21 of the girls kidnapped from Chibok over two years ago. The girls were released into care of the Nigerian Army in Maidugiri, capital of Borno state where the Islamist group has been it’s strongest.
In the middle of the night on 14 April 2014, 275 schoolgirls were kidnapped from their dormitories in the village of Chibok, Nigeria. While over 50 managed to escape straight away, before today only 2 other girls had been found.
An Open Doors contact in close contact with parents of the Chibok girls says, “When I first spoke to the parents after the news broke, they told me they had not heard about it. Later they called to confirm the report, but at that time had not been contacted by the government yet. They are eagerly awaiting word from them.”
Here is what we know so far.
- The girls released have been confirmed by the government as:
1. Mary Usman Bulama
2. Jummai John
3. Blessing Abana
4. Luggwa Sanda
5. Comfort Habila
6. Maryam Basheer
7. Comfort Amos
8. Glory Mainta
9. Sarratu Emmanuel
10. Deborah Ja’afaru
11. Rahab Ibrahim
12. Helin Musa
13. Mayamy Lawan
14. Rebecca Ibrahim
15. Asabe Goni
16. Deborah Andrawus
17. Agnes Gapani
18. Saratu Markus
19. Glory Dama
20. Pindah Huhu
21. Rebecca Mallum
- Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and BBC journalist Akwasi Sarpong tweeted pictures of the girls, looking frail and some held babies.
- The release follows negotiations between Boko Haram and the government, facilitated by the Red Cross and the Switzerland government. The talks will continue, according to the government.
- The 21 were freed before dawn on Oct 13 in the northeastern Nigerian town of Banki, near the border with Cameroon. They are now in Abuja, the capital.
- There is some speculation about the condition for their release. The AFP quoted a local source in saying the girls were exchanged for four Boko Haram prisoners in Banki. The information minister, Lai Mohammed, denied that. “Please note that this is not a swap. It is a release, the product of painstaking negotiations and trust on both sides.” Reuters reported a Swiss government official saying they “facilitated contacts between Nigerian representatives and intermediaries of Boko Haram” after a request from Abuja.
Rev. Joel Billi told World Watch Monitor that 201 of the kidnapped girls belong to his church. He said, “I would have celebrated even if one person was freed. I am very, very happy to hear that 21 of them are free,” he said. “My heart is also rejoicing that one day soon … the majority of them, if not all of them, are going to be freed.”
What Can We Pray?
“We thank all our supporters for the continued prayers for this situation over the past 2-and-a-half years. Our eyes are still on God for the release of the rest of them,” – Open Doors Nigeria Manager
- Please pray for the parents eagerly awaiting news of their daughters. 21 households will be elated, almost 200 others probably hopeful and terrified at the same time. Pray for God’s continued grace to them and those still held captive.
- From the photos released so far, the girls looked frail, and some held babies. The emotional impact of this ordeal is impossible to image. Pray with us that these girls would receive the emotional care they so desperately need.
- Pray for them as they go back to their communities and restart their lives. It’s not known when they will be reunited with their parents, but based on pervious girls who were found, it may not happen soon. Please pray for continued grace for all involved.