More details are emerging on the Wednesday morning release of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirls by Boko Haram.
So far, it appears that only one of the abducted girls remain in captivity. Her name is Liya Sharibu, a Christian girl who has refused to denounce her faith in exchange for her release.
“All of them were released. They said some were dead there and my daughter is alive but they cannot release her because she is a Christian. They gave her the option of converting in order to be released but she said she will never become a Muslim… I am very sad but I am also jubilating too because my daughter did not denounce Christ,” said her father, Nata Sharibu, in an interview with Raypower FM after her release.
5 of the 110 abducted girls died in captivity, said Mohammed Mdada, a vigilante in Dapchi.
Speaking to The Guardian, Mdada said: “Five of them were killed on the day they were taken. They were trampled to death because the vehicle they were in was too crowded.”
According to him, when the girls were brought back, the militants apologised for the kidnap, saying they thought the girls were Christian, not Muslim.
“Boko Haram shook hands with the parents and apologised for abducting them. They said that if they knew they were Muslim girls, they wouldn’t have abducted them,” he said. “They spoke in the Kanuri language and were dressed in black turbans, and they’d dressed the girls in cream hijabs. 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.”
One of the released girls, Fatima Abdullahi, said “It took us three days to get back to Dapchi. We were divided into three groups and flown in planes, and taken over rivers in boats.”
The Nigerian government and military had allowed an operational pause so that the militants could have the freedom to enter and exit the community with the girls. One of the three trucks which brought back the girls even suffered a punctured tyre and was changed in Dapchi, close to the police station.