Remember those 300 schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram, the Islamist group running a reign of terror in north-east Nigeria? The ones whose story spurred the #BringBackOurGirls campaign? Well, reporters were very excited last night when it emerged that they could have potentially been released from their captors.
Nigeria’s president elect (he’ll be the actual president on Friday), Muhammadu Buhari, has insisted that finding the Chibok schoolgirls would be a priority of his should he come to power. That’s why a lot of people were hopeful when news broke that 200 girls and 93 women had been liberated from Boko Haram in a siege.
Colonel Sani Usman told Reuters: ‘So far, they [the army] have destroyed and cleared Sassa, Tokumbere and two other camps in the general area of Alafa, all within the Sambisa forest.’
Which is army-speak for the army have gone in to Boko Haram’s camps, killed some of Boko Haram and rescued loads of women.
An intelligence official told Channel 4: ‘Now they are excited about their freedom. Tomorrow there will be screenings to determine whether they are Boko Haram wives, whether they are from Chibok, how long they have been in the camps, and if they have children.’
Wait…hold on a minute…these girls might not be the Chibok schoolgirls? That’s right. Which shows the scale of the problem. Like, if you think kidnapping 300 schoolgirls was bad enough, then remember that the terrorist group have killed thousands of people, kidnapped so many more, and do things like send 10-year-old girls into busy markets with explosives strapped to them so they become suicide bombers.
Islamist groups like Isis, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram have kidnapped thousands of girls and women, turning them into sex slaves, or simply raping and returning them to their communities to bring them ‘shame’.
With this raid, there’s hope that Nigeria can bring back the Chibok schoolgirls, but fingers crossed that all of the fanatical groups that don’t believe women have a right to their bodies or education are toppled.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.