More than 100 schoolgirls abducted from Chibok in Nothern Nigeria are unwilling to return home. Pogu Bitrus, chairman of the Chibok Development Association, said more than 100 others appeared unwilling to leave their captors
In April 2014 more than 200 girls were abducted by members of the extremist Islamist Boko Haram group, who have held them in captivity ever since, forcibly converting many from Christianity. Although 21 of the girls were released last week – possibly following the payment of a ransom – Nigeria’s government is negotiating the release of another 83.
The chairman said that he said they were ashamed to return home because they were forced to marry extremists and have their babies. Some of the girls may be be suffering from ‘Stockholm syndrome’, where they identify with and feel affection for their captors.
Mr Bitrus also said that the freed girls have told their parents they were separated into two groups early on in their captivity, when Boko Haram commanders gave them the choice of joining the extremists and embracing Islam, or becoming their slaves.The latter group – made up of 104 girls – never saw their classmates again.
According to Mr Bitrus, they were used as domestic workers and porters but were not sexually abused. That group contain the 21 who were released last week and the 83 who the government are negotiating over. He further said that the 21 girls freed last week might have to be educated abroad because of the stigma they will face in Nigeria.
Mr Britus also said many of those who escaped two years ago were taunted as ‘Boko Haram wives’ by people in Chibok and had moved away. At least 20 were being educated in the United States. ‘We would prefer that they are taken away from the community and this country because the stigmatisation is going to affect them for the rest of their lives’.
The girls are expected to meet Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari tomorrow October 20 and he has said his government is prepared to talk with Boko Haram about the release of the remaining girls.