Freed Chibok Girls Reunited with Parents
Parents of the Chibok girls released by Boko Haram earlier this year were reunited with their daughters in the Nigerian capital Abuja. There were emotional scenes at the reunion ceremony with fathers gripping their daughters in tight hugs, while mothers shrieked with joy, wiping away tears streaming from their eyes. One beaming father picked up his daughter and swung her around in the air. They hadn’t seen each other since April 2014, when fighters from the armed group snatched more than 200 schoolgirls from their dormitories in northeast Nigeria. “I’m feeling very happy. I was dancing with her, she’s very happy,” said Yakubu Nkeki, whose niece Maimuna – whom he has raised as his own child – was among the 82 released. “Everyone was dancing today, even the old ones, everyone was dancing,” Nkeki told AFP news agency. “All of us had lost hope. We thought the girls would not be returned.” Nkeki added.
Nkeki, who represents the Chibok parents, said that they would attend a church service with the girls on Sunday, before returning home early next week. Nigeria’s minister for women Aisha Alhassan has said that the government’s goal is to have all the rescued Chibok girls back in school by September. But the Nigerian government has been criticised for keeping the girls in their custody and limiting access to their parents. “Authorities should clarify to families whether the rescued girls are being held in preventive detention or as criminal suspects,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement earlier this month. The human rights organization added that the Nigerian government should also be working to secure the release of others kidnapped by Boko Haram. “While the Chibok girls are the highest profile victims of Boko Haram’s abductions, authorities should extend the negotiations for release to other missing adults and children,” it said.