Today marks the one year anniversary of the sad kidnap of the Chibok Girls. One whole year! One year since 276 school girls were whisked away from their school by the dreaded Boko Haram sect into the unknown.
It is quite a grim day, a day which is made even grimmer when the fact that the girls have remained in captivity ever since, hits one in the face.
The kidnapping of the Chibok girls struck a chord outside the northeast that five years of murderous insurgency there had not. It gave birth to the rise of the #BringBackOurGirls movement, a movement that has been taken up by thousands of people across the world. Many have raised their voices, written their grievances, crafted their stories in a bid to raise awareness and call upon the relevant authorities to push for the girls’ release.
As we remember them today, I’d like to remind us that these girls are more than just a hashtag, more than just a movement. Let us not stay alienated from the fact that they are real, young girls who were torn apart from their families in the harshest way possible.
I read this story on Voice Of America about the Chibok girls and it broke my heart. Here is an excerpt:
Bare bed frames still fill what’s left of the abandoned Secondary School for Girls. Soldiers guard the entrance. No soldiers were here a year ago when Boko Haram forced their way through the gate and into the dormitories. Gunfire ripped through the night.
“The moment the men spoke in Hausa, saying they were soldiers and that we should not be afraid, we knew it was Boko Haram,” said 19-year-old student Saratu. “They told us we should not be in school. That education, ‘boko,’ is bad, ‘haram,’ and that we should come with them.”
The men forced some girls onto vehicles, while others had to walk. The men looted the storage rooms and set the school ablaze before they left.
Saratu is one of 57 girls who escaped. She hurt her leg jumping from a vehicle as they approached the Sambisa Forest, Boko Haram’s prime hideout. A man from the village found her and carried her home.
We remember these precious girls and pray for their safe return home. Let us keep praying for them.