Chibok, Nigeria gets a Glimmer of Hope

After more than two years, Amina Ali, one of the 276 schoolgirls Boko Haram fighters abducted from a Chibok school in an attack that sparked international outrage, was found this week. She was reportedly identified by a member of a civilian vigilante group assisting Nigerian soldiers in the fight against Boko Haram. Since their abduction on April 14, 2014, only 57 of the girls have managed to escape at various times since being captured; 219 remained hostages, at least until three days ago. Just as Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau had said before, Amina appeared to have been married (by force) and was found with her four-month-old child. The return of one of the long missing girls is the best “proof of life,” and might provide the Nigerian authorities with some momentary relief from the pressure they face over their failure to secure the girls’ return. That relief can only be temporary, however, not only because despite the military’s claims of “rescuing” over 11,595 Boko Haram hostages, 218 of the Chibok girls remain missing, but also because of the challenges Amina and her baby will likely face. While Amina may enjoy the same mental, medical, and educational support as her 57 classmates who escaped earlier than her, the length of her stay in captivity and the intensity of her experiences will require particular attention and treatment. The culture of silence, stigma, and shame around sexual abuse in the religiously conservative areas of northern Nigeria is likely to add to Amina’s trauma. Do you feel hope that the rest of the girls could be found? I know I do. As grim as this situation seems I think that this is a sign that things will start turning around in Nigeria.

Share This: