EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH FREED CHIBOK GIRLS (WATCH)

It has now been over 1000 days since more than 200 girls were abducted from their Community Secondary School in Chibok Community of Borno State. The abduction has led to the convening of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign that has mounted enormous pressure on the successive governments of Nigeria to ensure the release of the girls. So far, 24 girls have been released or have managed to escape leaving and ascertained 195 girls in captivity of the isurgent group, Boko Haram.

An exclusive story, reported by the Thomson Reuters Foundation has just been made available to YNaija where Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani and Kieran Guilbert of  Reuters interviewed the freed girls, parents and political think tanks.

See excerpts from the interview after this cut:

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For parents like Rebecca Joseph, the return home of the group of 21 girls at Christmas was a bitter-sweet celebration.

Her daughter, Elizabeth, is one of an estimated 195 girls still held captive by the jihadist group, which has tried to force some of them to convert to Islam and to marry their captors.

“I am happy that some of the girls are returning home even though my own daughter is not among them. My prayer is that my daughter and the rest of the girls will be rescued and returned to their families safe.”  Rebecca Joseph told the Thomson Reuters Foundation where she still lives in the town of Chibok in Borno state where her girl was abducted.

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The report goes on to quote Sola Tayo, an associate fellow at the London-based think tank Chatham House who says:

“Outside Nigeria, the Chibok girls have come to symbolise the Boko Haram conflict. The global outrage generated by their captivity has added to their value to the insurgents.”

Touching on the issue of how the 21 girls freed last October were secured, the Reuters team interviewed Ryan Cummings, the director of risk management consultancy Signal Risk. The issue had generated rumours about a ransom exchanged for the release of the girls even though the Federal government maintained that this is false.

“To secure the release of the remaining girls would require concessions by the Nigerian government, which could reverse significant gains it has made against Boko Haram. In addition to detainees, Boko Haram may also demand supplies, weapons, vehicles and even money which they could use to recalibrate and invigorate their armed campaign against the Nigerian state” was Ryan’s submission regarding any subsequent releases.

They also interviwed Nnamdi Obasi of the International Crisis Group who believes that it is most unlikely that all the remaining girls will come home alive, but the government owes their parents and the public the fundamental responsibility of accounting for every one of them.

“In the long run, that’s the only way to bring closure to this sad episode.” he added.

*The original article appears on the Reuters website and was conducted by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani and Kieran Guilbert.

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