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Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Nearly six years after Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from a high school in northeastern Nigeria, the Chibok area in Borno state is under threat of “annihilation” from the rebel group and the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), area leaders said.
While 112 of the kidnapped girls remain in captivity, Boko Haram abducted another 22 people in the predominantly Christian Chibok area in December, according to a statement from the Kibaku Area Development Association.
“The Kibaku Area Development Association (KADA) wishes to cry out and put it on the record that we are being targeted for attacks and annihilation, whether at home or wherever we are,” Dauda Iliya, head of the association, said in the statement issued from Abuja on Feb. 3. “Our people and homelands are in danger. Our homes, farms, barns, and places of worship are destroyed. We are unable to exercise our religious freedoms as we prefer. Our very existence is under grave threat.”
Iliya said 11 parents of the girls kidnapped in 2014 have been killed in subsequent attacks, and eight other parents have died from post-traumatic disorders such as heart conditions related to the abduction of their daughters.
“Of 20 Chibok girls’ parents – our kinsmen and women – who are now deceased, 11 were killed during the Boko Haram attacks, eight died of heart conditions as a result of trauma, with those alive subsisting with various degrees of heart conditions and trauma along with their resultant effects,” he said.
Among the 22 people kidnapped in December, five were abducted in the nearby Kwarangilum community in a Boko Haram attack on Christmas Eve, with the rebels burning down houses and carting away live cattle, sheep, goats and chickens, he said.
“Five days later on the 29th of December in Mandaragrau, 17 Chibok indigenes were kidnapped,” Iliya said. “We also do not notice much effort by the government to permanently end the scourge of Boko Haram terrorism, and restore peace in our homelands in particular, and the northeast in general; nor the return of our 112 daughters held in captivity for close to six years.”
The area has been under constant attack by Boko Haram, which seeks to impose sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria, for 10 years, he said.
Boko Haram terrorists on Feb. 18 attacked two predominantly Christian communities in Chibok County, Kwarangilum and Forfor villages, residents said.
“The terrorists [simultaneously] attacked the communities around 6 p.m., shooting indiscriminately and burning down houses,” Maina Kapi told Morning Star News by text message. “Please, your prayer is needed because today Boko Haram entered Kwarangilum area of Chibok.”
Habakkuk Aboki, another area resident, said Islamic extremists also attacked another part of Chibok County in January.
“In January 2020, two Christians were killed in Payasatan-Bilaburdar village, also here in Chibok,” he said by text message.
Confirmation of the killings and names of the victims could not be obtained from the area, which is subject to frequent communications blackouts.
Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — With a malevolent laugh, the leader of Nigeria’s Islamic extremists tells the world that more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls have all been converted to Islam and married off, dashing hopes for their freedom.
“If you knew the state your daughters are in today, it might lead some of you … to die from grief,” Abubakar Shekau sneers, addressing the parents of the girls and young women kidnapped from a remote boarding school more than six months ago.
In a new video released late Friday night, the Boko Haram leader also denies there is a cease-fire with the Nigerian government and threatens to kill an unidentified German hostage.
“Don’t you know we are still holding your German hostage (who is) always crying,” he taunts. “If we want, we will hack him or slaughter him or shoot him.” READ MORE
Nigeria Reaches Ceasefire Agreement With Boko Haram Sect with Possible Release of Kidnapped School Girls
The Nigerian news outlet, Vanguard is reporting that VoA, quoted President Goodluck Jonathan’s Private Secretary, Alh. Hassan Tukur, as disclosing. – Voice of Nigeria VoA in Saudi where the talks which are being brokered by officials of Chad and Cameroon are taking place.
The cease-fire is expected to result in the release of the remaining 219 Chibok female students(who are majority Christian) abducted from their school more than five months ago and indeed girls and women abducted from other communities in the course of the five-year deadly insurgency, said to have killed over 12, 000 people.
According to the international radio, a man calling himself the Secretary-General of Boko Haram, Danladi Ahmadu, told VOA on Thursday that the Chibok girls were in good condition and unharmed.
The report said that Boko Haram did not elaborate on the conditions under which the girls would be freed and that authorities in Saudi Arabia were not involved in the negotiations.
Nigeria: Suspected Boko Haram insurgents have carried out fresh attacks against Christians in 3 villages. Suspected Islamists sprayed gunfire at worshipers and torched churches on Sunday. Though the death toll differs, some are claiming the gunmen killed no less the 51 people, mostly Christians in Chibok and Biu local government areas of Borno State, Nigeria. This is also in the same area where the 276 female students of Government Girls Secondary School had been abducted.
Two weeks ago, the Boko Haram had sent written messages warning of further attacks against the communities.
In Kwada village, about 10 kilometres from Chibok, churches were burnt down when the gunmen ambush on them during church service.
One of the residents told Vanguard, “the attackers killed and burnt houses after attacking worshippers in five churches in Kwada, before moving to Kautikari less than 8 kilometres to Chibok town, killing and burning down people’s houses and property. The security operatives were not on ground to defend us. In fact, those who ran into the bush were pursued and killed by the murderers.”
It is also being reported that the people living in Chibok town have fled their homes. And that others who hailed from the area could not hold back their tears upon hearing the news.
One witness recalled the terrorists came in pick up vehicles and motorcycles and opened fire on the people before setting houses, and other property ablaze. He said after killing one person, the terrorists carted away food and motorcycles before fleeing into the bush.
“The military and other security agencies should do more by not only deploying more personnel, but cooperating fully with members of the Local Vigilante Group in fighting terrorism and insurgency in this part of the state. They know the terrains of Sambisa Forest and can track insurgents in their hideouts. (vigilante groups are encouraged to help ward off the insurgents)
“The two should work as a team to end this Boko Haram insurgency that will clock five years by July 29, 2014”, said Sen. Mohammed Ali Ndume, representing Borno South Senatorial District
“The human mind cannot understand what is happening. There is no reason for what they are doing, but they continue to do it”, said Mgr. Doeme to Fr. Patrick. Fr. Patrick adds he managed to escape the attack of June 25, which hit a shopping center in Abuja, causing dozens of deaths: “I remember that on that day at that time I had an appointment in the mall’s square, where I usually park my car and where the bomb exploded. I thank God that the appointment was cancelled. Providence saved me”, the priest told Fides.
Like so many others I am glad to see more people around the world take up the issue of the school girls who were kidnapped more than two weeks ago from Chibok in the north east region of Nigeria. I am relieved to see people of different backgrounds, in my social media feeds join the #WhereAreOurGirls and #BringBackOurDaughters conversations in solidarity with the grieving families of those missing girls. Celebrities including Chris Brown, Keri Hilson and Mary J. Bilge have contributed their support to the #bringbackourgirls campaigns.
But even as the rest of the world finally gets around to paying attention to this story, we should consider this an apt moment to pause and reflect on how we write about conflict in Africa, young girls and how the western media tends to render female children invisible not just by a lack of coverage, but in the language we use to talk about them.
For two weeks, the plight more than 200 girls [nearly 300] was barely covered in the western media, which led me to wonder if there are gendered notions of African children that deserve protection from African conflict. African boys seem to have received the lion’s share of western preoccupation when it comes to conflicts on the continent. A google image search for the words “child”, “conflict” and “Africa” are mostly images of male child soldiers holding semi-automatic weapons. Many people familiar with conflict know of the “Lost Boys of Sudan”, or the boy soldiers of “Invisible Children” of Uganda. Perhaps boy child soldiers invoke a western fascination with the myth of African males, who naturally brutish and violent and are easily coerced into killing one another because, “primordial hatred”. But do many people know that in 1996 in Aboke, Uganda, more than 100 school girls between the ages of 13 and 16 were kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army? That many of them were rescued by their school mistress? That it took almost ten years to get most of them back? I have not heard much mention of the Aboke girls at all in coverage of the missing Chibok girls.
Beyond lack of coverage, I questioned on Twitter the language we use to talk about girls who are abducted in conflict situations. News media reports said that a number of the girls have been “sold as brides to Islamic militants for $12” Is it appropriate to call these girls “brides” or “wives” in our reporting just because the militants may refer to them as such? In scanning the Nigerian media, I did not see the words “brides” or “wives” feature as heavily as I did in Western reporting.
There is nothing remotely resembling marriage in what has happened to these girls. In my view, these girls are not brides, but rather they have been trafficked and sold into nothing short of slavery. Imagine if the world headlines read, “235 Children in Nigeria Kidnapped and Sold Into Slavery”, I would bet reactions would be swifter and stronger. If the reports are true, it is very likely that the girls will be forcibly used for sex, perhaps in addition to cooking, cleaning and other types of labor for the militants. Is this not slavery? When do we use the term “child slave” versus “child bride” for African girls?
I reiterate, I am glad that the world is finally taking notice of the Chibok girls. On the other hand, I do grow nervous when overly sensationalized coverage of children in African conflicts in the West go the way of #kony2012. While the language we use to talk about these girls must do the utmost the horror of their plight, but that in our eagerness to “say something” we do not marginalize them further.
Images by Zachary Rosen, taken at yesterday’s #BringBackOurGirls protest, Washington DC.
By Karen Attiah for AFRICA IS A COUNTRY
(shared with permission)
VOP note: As we have reported in the past, the Boko Haram has stepped up the kidnappings, forced conversions and illegal marriages to young girls and women in Nigeria. These girls are also used as decoys, or to aid militants in carrying out attacks. These terrorists put them under physical and psychological torture them. Pray for their rescue, that they may be reunited with their families and begin to heal, physically and mentally.
By Emma Ovuakporie, Joseph Erunke, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Ndahi Marama
ABUJA—The Federal Government, yesterday, made a passionate appeal to parents of 234 female students of a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State, who were abducted by Boko Haram terrorists, to give it more time for rescue operation even as four more girls were said to have escaped from the terrorists’ den.
The government appeal came on a day the Senate called for full scale military campaign against the insurgents, just as the House of Representatives summoned the Chief of Defence Staff and all the Service Chiefs to appear before it and explain how the abducted girls would be rescued.
Also, the senator representing Borno North, Ahmed Zanna claimed, yesterday, that he informed the military as the terrorists were moving the girls from one place to the other but the military failed to act on time.
Parents protest at National Assembly
Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Zainab Maina, while addressing the parents of the abducted girls, who stormed the National Assembly to protest what they described as the insensitivity of the Federal Government to their plight since the abduction of the girls, said concerted efforts were being made by the security forces to secure their release.
The aggrieved parents in black attires and armed with various placards had early in the day staged a peaceful demonstration at the popular Eagle Square before moving to the National Assembly where they staged another peaceful demonstration, demanding the immediate intervention of President Goodluck Jonathan for the rescue of their daughters before any harm was done to any of them.
Speaking on behalf of the parents under the umbrella of Kibaku Area Development Association, KADA, Mrs Naomi Mutah lamented that it was “painful that our daughters were carried away into the wilderness over 15 days now like cows to be slaughtered. Since then, we have not heard any thing from the Federal Government. READ MORE from Vanguard (Nigeria)