At least one of the schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram seven years ago from the town of Chibok – in northeast Nigeria – has escaped captivity, according to Christian persecution watchdog Open Doors UK and Ireland.
According to the charity’s sources, other captives – not necessarily from Chibok – may also have escaped but the total number of those free are not yet known.
“One of the Chibok girls who has escaped was able to speak to her father over the phone and has been clearly identified,” said Illia Djadi, Open Doors senior analyst on freedom of religion and belief in sub-Saharan Africa.
Amid conflicting reports, the new Chief of Defence Staff of the Nigerian Army, Major General Lucky Irabor has said that the military did not have any Chibok girls among those who escaped Boko Haram captivity during recent army operations in the Sambisa Forest.
However, Open Doors sources on the ground have confirmed that at least one Chibok schoolgirl, Hauwa Halima Maigana, along with an unknown number of other captives, are now free from Boko Haram captivity.
Henrietta Blyth, the CEO of Open Doors UK and Ireland, said: “The news of girls escaping from Boko Haram – including the schoolgirl from Chibok – is a ray of hope that others still in captivity may regain their freedom too.
“The abduction of the Chibok girls seven years ago was a painful illustration of the fact that women are especially vulnerable to persecution in Nigeria because of both their faith and gender.
“Even after escape, their painful journey is normally not yet over – they need to reintegrate into their community and cope with the trauma of their captivity.”
In April 2014 Boko Haram fighters ambushed a state boarding school for girls in the northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Assist News Service