More than 100 school girls were kidnapped from last month from their Nigerian village by extremist group Boko Haram. These girls were released and returned to their village. Al Jazeera reports “The government said on Wednesday that 101 of the 110 schoolgirls had been confirmed freed and the number ‘would be updated after the remaining ones have been documented'”.
“No ransoms were paid,” said Nigeria’s information minister Lai Mohammed.
The 110 girls were kidnapped when Boko Haram took over the campus of the Government Science and Technical College of Dapchi, on February 19. When the vehicles of Boko Haram returned, many began to flee out of fear, not immediately realizing that the girls were being returned. Once residents realized what was happening, they begin to celebrate.
According to The Gaurdian, Mohammed Mdada witnessed both the kidnapping and the return of the girls. Mdada also says that some members of Boko Haram apologzied to some of the parents before departing the North-East Nigerian village.
“They said that if they knew they were Muslim girls they wouldn’t have abducted them,” Mdada said. “They warned the girls that they should stay away from school and swore that if they came back and found any girl in school, they’d abduct them again and never give them back.”
Boko Haram’s view points include being against “western education” of girls and women and kidnaps the girls to turn them into wives. Despite taking 110 girls from Dapchi only 101 were returned. The Nigerian officials are often criticized by their policies when dealing with these mass abductions.
Back in 2014, over 200 girls were kidnapped from Chibok, prompting international attention and creating the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. The families of these missing children were visiting Dapchi the day the girls were returned, prepared to encourage them and give advice. For many, it was bittersweet. The BBC reports over 100 of the Chibok girls remain missing.