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Boko Haram leaders share and convert abducted schoolgirls into wives

By News Express on 29/04/2014

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Some of the schoolgirls abducted from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State, have been shared among Boko Haram leaders and converted into wives, according to a community leader.

The Chibok community leader, Mr. Pogo Bitrus, told BBC that they had received reports that the insurgents had married some of the girls.

“We learned that one of the ‘grooms’ brought his ‘wife’ to a neighbouring town in Cameroon and kept her there,” he told the BBC.

“It’s a medieval kind of slavery,” he added.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau first threatened to treat captured women and girls as slaves in a video released in May 2013.

It fuelled concern at the time that the group is adhering to the ancient Islamic belief that women captured during war are slaves with whom their “masters” can have sex, BBC correspondents say.

Mr. Bitrus told BBC that some of the schoolgirls abducted from their hostel in the night of April 18 are believed to have been taken to neighbouring states. He said there had been “sightings” of gunmen crossing with the girls into Cameroon and Chad.

Mr. Bitrus said 230 girls were missing since militants attacked the school. He said that 43 of the abducted girls had “regained their freedom” after escaping, while 230 were still in captivity. This is a higher number than previous estimates, however he was adamant it was the correct figure.

The students were about to sit their final year exam and so are mostly aged between 16 and 18.

“Some of them have been taken across Lake Chad and some have been ferried across the border into parts of Cameroon,” he told the BBC.

Mr. Bitrus said everyone in the community felt as though their own daughters had been abducted.

Men were “braving it out”, but women were “crying and wailing”, he said.

“Whether it is my niece or whoever it doesn’t matter. We are all one people,” Mr. Bitrus told the BBC.

“That’s why I’m crying now as community leader to alert the world to what’s happening so that some pressure would be brought to bear on government to act and ensure the release of these girls.”

The government has said the security forces are searching for the girls, but few people believe that it is serious about rescuing the innocent schoolchildren.

•Photo shows Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau with his lieutenants. Shekau in a 2013 video threatened to treat captured women and girls as slaves.

Source News Express

Posted 30/04/2014 01:53:43 AM

 

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