Six of the 53 Nigerian girls who escaped Boko Haram kidnappers last month are speaking out. One girl named Kuma Ishaku told the New York Times that the men came into their school at night shouting first that they were the military, and later that they were Boko Haram. Some who were forced into the trucks decided to make a jump from the moving vehicles and run for the bush surrounding the road, others snuck off once they reached the terrorist base camp. None of the girls said they were sexually assaulted, though one said their captors initially refused to let her relieve herself in the woods, it took multiple requests.
Here are their stories:
- "They said: 'If you want to die, sit down here. We will kill you. If you don't want to die, you will enter the trucks,' " remembered Kuma Ishaku, a soft-spoken 18-year-old in a bright white blouse with silver sparkles.
- "We woke up and we saw people in military uniforms," said Ms. Ishaku, who, like many of the students, had come in from an outlying area and was sleeping at the school that night, April 14, when she heard the sound of gunfire. They asked them where they kept their food and the "engine that prepares bricks."
- "They told us: 'We are Boko Haram. We will burn your school. You shall not do school again,' " Ms. Bishara said. " 'You shall do Islamic school.' And they were shouting, 'Allahu akbar!' " — "God is great!"
- "They were saying, 'Don't worry; we will not touch you,' " Ms. Simon said, adding that the men told them, " 'We will take you to our masters.' "
- "So I said, 'Let's jump,' " Ms. Ishaku recalled. "Out of fear, some refused. They said, 'They will shoot us.' I said, 'I prefer to die.' "
- "Yes, yes, I ran into the bush," said Joy Bishara, a tall 18-year-old in a brown T-shirt with "Ice Box" on the front. She jumped from one of the trucks as it slowed down. "I don't know where I am going," Ms. Bishara said, recalling her hasty reasoning that night. "I think they will kill me. They were telling us, 'We will kill you.' "
Upon their return to Chibok, the girls were shown the video of their classmates dressed in hijabs and flanked by Boko Haram militia to identify them for authorities. They broke into tears watching the clip.
Elsewhere in Nigeria, vigilante villagers in the Northern area of the country took matters into their own hands and killed a number of people they suspected of being part of Boko Haram’s next attack. According to Al Jazeera, residents of a village called Kalabalge learned of an impending attack this week and ambushed two trucks they believed to be harboring terrorists. They killed at least 41 people and detained about 10 but no one can confirm where they are being held.
Earlier this week, the Nigerian government refused then acquiesced to discussing Boko Haram's ransom terms and President Goodluck Jonathan's next step is unclear. However the #bringbackourgirls campaign continues as the girls have been missing for over 30 days, even Pope Francis joined the movement.
Let us all join in prayer for the immediate release of the schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria. #BringBackOurGirls
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) May 10, 2014
Photo Credit: AP Images.