Sunday (8 Jan.) marked 1,000 days since 276 schoolgirls were abducted from the government boarding school in Nigeria’s northern town of Chibok. So far, 195 remain in captivity. However, the few who’ve regained freedom, like Amina Ali Nkeki, have found themselves not completely free.
Amina was the first to escape, in May, with her Boko Haram husband and baby. Soon after, she said she wanted to stay with her husband, saying he was a victim too, forced into fighting for the Islamist militia.
In October, the government negotiated the release of 21 other girls. Another, Mariam, was freed in November by the army. On Thursday (5 Jan), one more was found with her baby.
Amina’s mother, Binta, said she has only seen her daughter once: last July. “I worry, sometimes, that I don’t know if she is alive or dead,” she said.
When Binta heard last month that the freed girls would be allowed home (from Abuja) for Christmas, she borrowed money to reach Chibok. But she met only the 21 girls, who tried to reassure her that her daughter was “fine, in good health,” even though she’d not been allowed to come too. Binta wants to see her granddaughter Safia again.
Some members of advocacy group Bring Back Our Girls have in the past expressed concerns over Nkeki’s whereabouts, saying she had been kept under close control by the government, and that she appears to be now treated as if she’s become a Muslim (which she would have done against her will). They say the girls are being “controlled”, as they know too much.
“[The authorities] told her that soon she will be starting school,” her brother, Noah, told media. He got the news in a rare phone call from his sister on 5 Jan, the first time he’d heard from her in three months. (Their mother can’t speak to her as she doesn’t own a mobile phone and reception in her village is poor).
Source: Associated Press