A schoolgirl who escaped from Boko Haram militants in Nigeria has called on the international community not to forget those still in captivity.
The abduction of 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria’s north-eastern town of Chibok in April 2014 by Islamist militants caused a global outcry – and prompted campaigns about girls’ right to education.
But almost three years later, 195 girls are still missing.
One of the girls who had been seized, using the pseudonym “Sa’a” to protect her identity, said “These girls are human beings, not something that we can forget about.”
“How would you feel if your daughter or wife was missing? Not one day or two, but three years. It’s very painful,” she told an education conference in Dubai.
So far some 24 of the young women were returned or freed. But Sa’a told the conference of her disappointment that the majority still remain in captivity.
“I remember those girls, but their dreams are now no more,” she said, recalling their plans for their careers and future lives.
Sa’a described the night in April 2014 when Boko Haram militants arrived at her school, burned books and classrooms and forced the pupils into trucks and cars at gunpoint.
She and a friend had jumped out the back of the truck as it went into a forest. They hid overnight and with the help of a shepherd had made their way back to safety.
Sa’a spoke alongside another young woman, using the name “Rachel”, whose father and brothers had been killed by Boko Haram.
Sa’a and Rachel called for greater efforts to get the Chibok girls back, and to make schools safe from attack. They said that their experiences had made them more determined than ever to make the most of an education that had been denied to the abducted classmates.