The hashtag #bringbackourgirls garnered widespread international attention to the plight of schoolgirls kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram. Since then, the Nigerian military and various nations including the United States have become involved in searching for the kidnapped girls. Now, word has come out of Nigeria that at least 63 women and girls made a harrowing escape from the grasp of Boko Haram. This past Friday, Abbas Gava, a local vigilante working with Nigerian security officials, stated “I received an alert from my colleagues … that about 63 of the abducted women and girls had made it back home.They took the bold step when their abductors moved out to carry out an operation.”
Although the terrorist group still holds over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in an earlier attack, these escaped captives were all from Kummabza village in the Damboa district of Borno state which was raided last June. During the raid, those who tried to escape were shot dead. Authorities reported the deaths of at least 30 village men. According to Gava, five women and two girls are still being held captive; one of the women is a nursing mother.
But in the Nigerian capital activists for the Bring Back Our Girls Movement have been met with harsh tactics and security forces. A March was held at the state presidential palace of Abuja. Activist Aishia Yesfu told the media “its 83 days today that the girls have been abducted … We have been coming out for 68 days and nobody has really listened to us. That is why the group “decided that we should just take the protest back to the president so that he will know that we are still out there after the 68 days, that we have been coming out daily”. The group was ordered by Nigerian security forces to disperse the protest and move away.
The Nigerian military has proven itself incapable of mounting an effective military strategy against the terrorist group Boko Haram. Although Nigeria is one of the worlds’s top producers of oil and a member of OPEC, its military is underfunded and overstretched.