It’s been 3o days since militants stormed Chibok Government Girls Secondary School in Northern Nigeria and abducted hundreds of young women in the dead of night. While the world has joined with Nigerians to continue to pressure President Goodluck Jonathan to #bringbackourgirls, six of the 53 students who escaped their captors recently shared their story with The New York Times.
According to 18-year-old Kuma Ishaku, the men flooded the school and yelled, “Allahu akbar! We are Boko Haram,” before threatening to kill the students. “They said: ‘If you want to die, sit down here. We will kill you. If you don’t want to die, you will enter the trucks.”
“They told us: ‘We are Boko Haram. We will burn your school. You shall not do school again,’” Joy Bishara 18, remembered. “’You shall do Islamic school.’ And they were shouting, ‘Allahu akbar!’ ” — “God is great!”
The terrified girls were herded onto busses for a harrowing 12-hour journey, but along the way several teens jumped from the vehicles and fled.
“I said, ‘Let’s jump,’ ” Ishaku recalled. “Out of fear, some refused. They said, ‘They will shoot us.’ I said, ‘I prefer to die.’ ”
Bishara also risked her life by jumping from a truck and fleeing into the forest. “All of us were running through the bush. We are running, and we don’t know where we are going.”
Others ran away from the abductors’ camp while the men were distracted. According to the New York Times, “The teenage girls wandered directionless in the thick semidesert scrub before kind strangers took them in and back to their village.”
The six young women who spoke with the paper said they were overcome with emotion when they saw a recently released Boko Haram video of their schoolmates.
“When we saw them in the movie, we started crying,” 17-year-old Godiya Simon, who escaped from the camp, said.
Although they wouldn’t initially let the girls relieve themselves in the bush, Simon said the men “were not rough with us.” Also, none of the six escaped girls report being sexually assaulted, but with Boko Haram threatening to sell the young women into slavery, who knows what has transpired since they were kidnapped on April 14.
Fed up by the lack of action by the Nigerian government, Al Jazeera recently reported that several vigilantes in northern Nigeria have detained and killed scores of suspected Boko Haram members after allegedly hearing of an impending attack in Kalabalge, approximately 155 miles from the Borno state capital of Maiduguri.
President Goodluck Jonathan has vowed to put an end to Boko Haram, which has claimed responsibility for killing thousands of Nigerians in attacks over the past few years, including massacring a group of male students at a boarding school in February. After initially declining to negotiate with the insurgent group, a top government official now says that “all options”—including talks with Boko Haram—are on the table.