The Nigerian Army announced on Thursday that its forces have rescued two of the girls kidnapped from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok by Boko Haram in 2014.
The abduction was a major scandal for both Nigeria and governments around the world, including the Obama administration in the United States, which displayed shocking impotence in the face of an outrageous mass kidnapping.
April 14th happened to be the ninth anniversary of the kidnapping, in which 276 girls were taken from the school by the jihadis of Boko Haram, a group that later swore allegiance to the Islamic State. Witnesses, survivors, and escapees said the girls were brutally raped, “married” off to Boko Haram fighters, and forced to witness and even commit atrocities.
Over half of the abductees were Christian and those captives were treated with particular brutality, including forced conversion to Islam. Some of the girls were forced to bear children for their captors.
Dozens of the girls’ parents have died over the past nine years, in some cases because the stress of losing their children caused their health to deteriorate. Some of the kidnap victims are also believed to have died in captivity.
The Nigerian government eventually paid some $3.3 million in ransom to Boko Haram to recover 103 of the victims. Some others escaped, and over the past few years the Nigerian military claims to have rescued a few of the remaining 96 captives in raids.
Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Ali, a theater commander for the Nigerian Army, told a press conference on Thursday that another such rescue was conducted on April 21, recovering Chibok girls Hauwa Maltha and Esther Marcus, both now 26 years old.
According to Ali, Hauwa Maltha was rescued with a three-year-old baby she bore for the second Boko Haram “husband” she was forced to marry. She was eight months pregnant when rescued and bore another child while in the care of Nigerian forces.
Maltha also bore two children for her first “husband,” but said they died of illness. Both of her husbands were killed, the second one during a battle between Boko Haram and its spinoff rival, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
Maltha told a press conference on Friday that she actually had a third Boko Haram “husband,” who “went away” and was accused of becoming an “infidel” by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. She said Shekau performed all three of her involuntary marriages. Shekau was allegedly killed during a battle between Boko Haram and ISWAP in June 2021.
Ali said Esther Marcus was also forced to “marry” two Boko Haram fighters. The first was killed while fighting Nigerian troops. The fate of the second was not disclosed.
Ali said the two new rescues bring the total for “Operation Hadin Kai,” the current Nigerian counter-terrorism campaign, to 14.
“Our immense appreciation goes to the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lucky Irabor, and service chiefs for their strategic guidance and provision of requisite logistics and operational platforms which have spurred the continuous successes,” Ali said.
Read the full article here
Discussion about this post