News

Kidnapped girls don't want to leave Boko Haram

Many of the Chibok schoolgirls still held by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria do not want to leave their jihadist captors, a community leader has claimed.

There were jubilant scenes in the capital Abuja this week after 21 of the girls were set free, the first successful breakthrough in negotiations between the Nigerian government and the militants, brokered by Switzerland.

But Pogu Bitrus, the chairman of the Chibok Development Association, said more than 100 of the remaining girls appeared unwilling to return home, either because they have been radicalised or they are ashamed of their experience.

Mr Bitrus told The Associated Press the 21 Chibok girls freed last week in the first negotiated release between Nigeria's government and Boko Haram should be educated abroad, because they will probably face stigma in Nigeria. They are expected to meet with Nigeria's president, Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday or Wednesday, he said.

Some 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped from a school in northeastern Chibok in April 2014. Dozens escaped early on and at least half a dozen have died in captivity, according to the newly freed girls, Mr Bitrus said. 

All those who escaped on their own have left Chibok because, even though they were held only a few hours, they were labelled "Boko Haram wives" and taunted, he said. At least 20 of the girls are being educated in the United States. 

"We would prefer that they are taken away from the community and this country because the stigmatization is going to affect them for the rest of their lives," he said. "Even someone believed to have been abused by Boko Haram would be seen in a bad light." 

Mr Bitrus said that according to the testimony of the freed girls, the schoolgirls were split into two groups early on in their captivity, when Boko Haram commanders gave them the choice of joining the extremists and embracing Islam, or becoming their slaves.

The girls freed and those whose release is being negotiated, numbering 104, are believed to be in the group that rejected Islam and Boko Haram, he explained. The freed girls said they never saw the other girls again. 

Nigeria's government has denied reports that the girls were swapped for four Boko Haram commanders, or that a large ransom was paid. 

Additional reporting by agencies

Topics:  boko haram editors picks girls kidnapping leave refuses


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

GALLERY: Junior cricketers enjoy final games for the year

Stanthorpe Junior Cricket, Saturday December 3, 2016.

Stanthorpe Junior Cricket kicked play off early on Saturday.

'Eleventh hour' backpacker tax decision welcomed

SHE'S APPLES: Rosie Savio welcomed the backpacker tax decision.

Granite Belt growers have welcomed the backpacker tax resolution.

Speculation discovered body could be missing man

Jamie Hardgraves, 43, was last seen at Thiedke Road, Beaudesert on Tuesday May 17. His vehicle was later located abandoned on Stanthorpe Texas Road early on May 18.

Police are unable to identify the remains until testing is finished.

Local Partners

Mandy Moore feels like she's 60

Mandy Moore sees herself as a 60-year-old rather than a 32-year-old

Goooodbye Hamish and Andy (from our radios)

Hamish and Andy

The pair have been on air since 2006

David Attenborough on facing his mortality

Sir David Attenborough in a scene from the TV special The Death of the Oceans.

Life without Sir David Attenborough is hard to imagine

Saying "I do" changed Shia's outlook on marriage

Shia LaBeouf has a new outlook on marriage since he tied the knot.

Singer tunes in to first movie role

Tori Kelly voices the character Meena in the movie Sing.

Musician Tori Kelly voices Meena the teenage elephant in Sing

Cricketing greats bring Aussie mateship to commentary box

Cricket commentator Adam Gilchrist.

ADAM Gilchrist enjoys the fun of calling the Big Bash League.

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Evicted from their own land: red tape tangles up family's plans

HOME WOES: Carl Murray says his family was evicted from their own property.

Owning their own land wasn't the biggest hurdle for this family

Coast high-flyer's fight back from bankruptcy, $72m debt

Scott Juniper went from millionaire developer to declaring bankruptcy in2012, now he is back on top of his game again with new developments including this one in Coolum.

'Apocalyptic lending storm' causes financial collapse.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!