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What happened to… the Chibok girls and Boko Haram, Part 1

This Monday, May 12, 2014, file image taken from video by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network shows the alleged missing girls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok.
This Monday, May 12, 2014, file image taken from video by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network shows the alleged missing girls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok. AP/File Photo

On the episode of the Global News podcast What happened to…? Erica Vella revisits the abduction of the Chibok girls by Boko Haram.

In April 2014, Grace Danladi Saleh had moved to her husband’s hometown of Chibok, Nigeria.

Saleh’s husband, Danladi Saleh Idrisa , was the town’s doctor and cared for the community.

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“We got married in Maiduguri City where our families lived.… After the wedding, we didn’t have the opportunity to have a honeymoon. So, we said, we’re going to schedule it for another time and then we headed back to Chibok,” she said.

Read more: Canada offers to help Nigeria secure release of Chibok schoolgirls

“It’s a really remote village. It’s one of those villages that have not seen development; there’s no tar road and they just have one hospital and as I said, he’s the only doctor there.”

Click to play video: 'Boko Haram video of kidnapped Chibok girls offers proof to some parents their kids are still alive' Boko Haram video of kidnapped Chibok girls offers proof to some parents their kids are still alive
Boko Haram video of kidnapped Chibok girls offers proof to some parents their kids are still alive – Aug 15, 2016

One evening in mid-April, Saleh said she heard loud noises and their home began to shake.

“He rushed inside, he barged into the house … and rush into the room.… He just screamed in Hausa language and told me that all these people are around. Once you said ‘these people,’ I right away knew who they are. So immediately I fainted.”

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Read more: Nigeria kidnappings — Can online campaigning #BringBackOurGirls?

The feared extremist group Boko Haram had arrived in Chibok and was at the local secondary school.

Members of the group dressed in military fatigues went to the school pretending to be soldiers.

“I was horrified. I couldn’t breathe,” Saleh said.

Read more: 75,000 children could starve to death in Nigeria after Boko Haram, UN says

On April 14, 2014, 276 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram and in the days and weeks following the abductions, international outrage began to mount.

The Nigerian military’s lack of progress in locating the girls or tracking down members of the insurgent group, who abducted them from the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School, led to growing outrage and protests across Nigeria.

Read more: Boko Haram leader says kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls will be sold

A campaign called Bring Back Our Girls had become the rallying cry in Nigeria and abroad, with the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag tweeted by hundreds of thousands of people, including former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama.

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On this episode of Global News’ What happened to…?, Erica Vella finds out what happened the night of the abductions, but also looks into how the insurgency group started and how the Bring Back Our Girls campaign helped shed light on an issue that had many people in Nigeria living in fear.

– With Files from Nick Logan and James Armstrong.

Contact:

Email: erica.vella@globalnews.ca

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