Nigeria schoolgirl kidnappings

  1. Kidnapped Chibok girls 'not in Nigerian army custody'

    Mayeni Jones

    BBC News, Lagos

    Parents and relatives hold portraits of their girls abducted by Boko Haram Jihadists
    Image caption: The schoolgirls were kidnapped in 2014

    The Nigerian military says it does not have in its custody any of the schoolgirls abducted seven years ago in the northern town of Chibok, amid reports that some of the girls had escaped from their abductors.

    Those who managed to escape are believed to be in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, although there are still few details known about how they fled.

    In 2014 Boko Haram militants kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from Chibok, sparking an international outcry and leading to personalities like Michelle Obama, then the US first lady, to campaign for their release.

    During a visit to Borno state on Sunday, the newly appointed army chief told journalists that it was his desire for the rest of the Chibok schoolgirls to be released.

    Maj Gen Leo Irabor added that he would be glad if the ongoing military operations in the state had helped anyone to gain their freedom.

    He promised that the military would intensify efforts to find those still missing.

    On Friday, the father of one of the missing schoolgirls told the BBC he had spoken to his daughter on the phone. The man said his daughter confirmed she had fled together with other captives during fighting.

    The Chibok girls remain a powerful symbol of the security challenges plaguing Nigeria’s north-east. The Nigerian authorities have managed to secure the release of more than 100 of the girls, but many are still missing.

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  2. Kidnapped Chibok schoolgirl 'has escaped' - father

    Mayeni Jones

    BBC News, Lagos

    Parents and relatives hold portraits of their girls
    Image caption: The girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in 2014

    The father of one of the Nigerian schoolgirls abducted in the northern town of Chibok has told the BBC that he has spoken to his daughter, amid reports that an unknown number of the girls had escaped from their abductors.

    The man said his daughter confirmed she had fled together with other captives during fighting.

    Those who managed to escape are believed to be in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, although there are still few details known about how they fled.

    In 2014 Boko Haram militants kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from the town, sparking an international outcry and leading to personalities like Michelle Obama, then the US first lady, to campaign for their release.

    Almost seven years since they were first abducted, the Chibok girls remain a powerful symbol of the security challenges plaguing Nigeria’s north-east.

    Over the past six years, the authorities have managed to secure the release of more than 100 of the girls but many are still missing.

    The military may try to take credit for the escape of the girls, particularly because it comes as President Muhammadu Buhari has replaced all top officials.

    But last time there was a shake-up in the upper echelons of the military command, the Nigerian authorities declared Boko Haram technically defeated.

    Instead the militant group has splintered in two, with both factions still carrying out regular attacks in the region.

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  3. Chibok students sit exams for first time since abduction

    Mayeni Jones

    BBC News

    Michelle Obama holding up a sign saying "#Bring Back our Girls"
    Image caption: The abduction in 2014 caused international outrage

    Students in the Nigerian town of Chibok have been taking secondary school exams there for the first time since more than 200 girls were abducted by Boko Haram in 2014.

    Parents and staff in Chibok have told the BBC they were happy that their children could take their exams closer to home.

    For many years local students had to travel to major northern cities, including Maiduguri and Jos, to sit exams.

    This often meant travelling long distances across bad roads.

    Some 238 students in Chibok have been taking the West African Senior School Certificate Examination at the local government secondary school.

    It’s the same exam the Chibok girls where taking, when they were abducted there six years ago.

    Security around the school has been beefed up: Only students and staff can access the grounds, after being searched by members of the security forces and civilian militias.

    Schools in Chibok were shut down in 2014, after Boko Haram insurgents abducted more than 200 students in the area.

    The kidnapping led to global outrage as public figures, including former US First Lady Michelle Obama, called for the girls to be rescued.

    More than 100 of the girls are still missing.

    At least 37,000 people are thought to have been killed and 2.5 million people displaced by the more than decade-long conflict with Boko Haram.

    Read more:

    The fate of the Chibok girls

  4. Inside Nigeria's Kidnap Crisis

    Video content

    Video caption: Thousands of Nigerians have fallen victim, millions of dollars in ransoms have been paid.

    Nigeria is in the grip of a kidnapping epidemic but an Intelligence Response Team - led by “Nigeria’s Super Cop” - are taking the fight to the kidnappers. Is the unit the solution?

  5. Video content

    Video caption: Nigeria ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on 'Obama interference' in 2015 election bid

    Goodluck Jonathan accuses the Obama administration of undermining his failed 2015 re-election bid.

  6. Read the secret diaries of the Chibok girls

    Photos of the exercise book covers with the overlaid text
    Image caption: Two 40-page notebooks used as diaries survive

    It's the fourth anniversary tomorrow of the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls taken from their school in Chibok by Boko Haram militants.

    More than 100 of them remain in captivity, including Sarah Samuel, who wrote many of the entries in a diary smuggled out by her friend when she was released last year.

    The girls used exercise books, given to them for the Koranic classes they were made to attend, to chronicle some of their experiences.

    Photo of the diary
    Image caption: Sarah Samuel, who wrote many entries, is still held by Boko Haram

    Last year, journalist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani spoke to one of freed Chibok girls about how they managed to keep the diary a secret.

    Read her account of the Chibok diaries: Chronicling a Boko Haram kidnapping

  7. Dapchi father describes pain at second separation

    The father of one of the released Dapchi schoolgirls has described his pain after she was taken away to the capital to meet the president within hours of her return.

    After his daughter her was freed from Boko Haram and reunited with her family, the unnamed father told BBC Newsday "the painful thing is you don't seem to have a right over your daughter".

    The girls have been flown to the capital, Abuja, where they are due to meet President Muhammadu Buhari.

    The father told the BBC:

    Quote Message: The army came to our houses and asked us to take them [our daughters] to our hospital and we complied. But after we took them there we were prevented from seeing or talking to them.
    Quote Message: The painful thing is you don't seem to have a right over your daughter. Even though I assured her I wouldn't leave her there, we were all asked to leave and they took them away."

    Some parents have told the BBC they got just 20 minutes with their daughter before she was taken to hospital, and from there to the capital, Abuja.

    Listen to the father's account in full below:

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    Nearly all of the 110 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by militants in the town of Dapchi last month were returned yesterday, the government says.

    Officials have said at least 101 girls were reunited with their families after being brought back to the town.

    Reports suggest at least five girls died during their ordeal, and that a Christian girl remains captive.

  8. Buhari's red carpet on visit to Dapchi leaves many unimpressed

    It has taken almost a month for Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari to visit Dapchi - the town where 110 girls were snatched by Boko Haram militants.

    But - as we reported yesterday - he has finally made it there.

    Unfortunately, the visit does not appear to have left either parents or Nigerian social media users impressed, after pictures emerged of his large entourage and the red carpet which was rolled out on his arrival.

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    Mr Buhari - who promised "there will be no rest" until the schoolgirls were found - and his crew flew in on at least six helicopters to address the students, relatives and teachers of the kidnapped girls on Wednesday.

    It led one mother of two missing girls to question where those soldiers were when her daughters were taken.

    The president's huge security entourage, she said, was upsetting to see.

    Others told the BBC they were not reassured by President Buhari's words and many are still angry at the lack of action by the government immediately after the attack.

    Meanwhile, social media users could not take their eyes off the red carpet...

  9. Finding Dapchi girls 'depends on normal people'

    Notes written on a blackboard during a class on February 18, 2018 at the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi, the northeastern state of Yobe, Nigeria, February 27, 2018
    Image caption: A chalkboard in Dapchi which has not been cleaned since the girls were taken

    The military's ability to find the kidnapped Dapchi schoolgirls depends on regular people revealing what they know, a Nigerian defence official has told the BBC.

    Brigadier General John Agim criticised people's reluctance to come forward with information which would help in the fight against Boko Haram.

    Speaking to the BBC's Chris Ewokor, he said:

    Quote Message: We have been saying we must begin to realise the fight between Boko Haram and Nigeria is not a fight between Boko Haram and the military.
    Quote Message: The intelligence we have to get must come from the people. When people see things and don’t think it is their responsibility, that is a problem.... The success of [the Dapchi] operation depends on how much people are willing to tell."

    The schoolgirls disappeared two weeks ago during a raid which is widely believed to have been carried out by Boko Haram militants.

    The military has come under fire for not properly protecting the area after soldiers were reportedly withdrawn from checkpoints surrounding the town just days before the attack.

  10. Why Lake Chad mustn't dry up

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    Video caption: It's shrunk to 10% of its former size, and jihadi recruiters are moving in

    It's shrunk to 10% of its former size, and jihadi recruiters are moving in. Ministers want to stop both processes.

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    Video caption: Dapchi kidnappings: 'They were pretending they would help us'

    Fatima was there when her best friend was abducted by Boko Haram, along with more than 100 other girls.