Abuja, Nigeria (TFC) – On April 14, 2014, Boko Haram abducted 276 Schoolgirls. 57 of them escaped the kidnapping, leaving 219 girls still unaccounted for.
A glimmer of hope was shed upon the fate of these missing girls around 5 p.m. local time on Tuesday when within Boko Haram’s Sambisa Forest stronghold, a young girl was found nursing her 4-month-old baby. Amina Ali Nkeki was safely rescued despite being accompanied by a Boko Haram fighter, who now is in custody. She was the first to be rescued, and on Thursday she flew to Abuja to meet with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at his presidential palace.
Today there are reports from Nigerian Army Colonel, Sani Usman, that a second girl was rescued. In a statement from Usman he stated: “We are glad to state that among those rescued is a girl believed to be one of the Chibok Government Secondary School girls that were abducted on 14 April 2014 by the Boko Haram terrorists. Her name is Miss Serah Luka, who is number 157 on the list of the abducted school girls. She is believed to be the daughter of Pastor Luka.”
Residents of Chibok and family members of the victims are refuting the authenticity of this report. They claim the name “Serah Luka” is not on the list of missing persons. Furthermore, the head of the Chibok Abducted Girls Parents group, Yakubu Nkeki, said he was contacted on Wednesday and informed of the discovery of the first girl prior to the official announcement.
Yet, he was not contacted when the announcement was made Thursday evening that a second girl had been discovered and rescued. He went on to say “We were never contacted by the military for verification of the girl’s identity before the announcement was made.” It’s also reported that she told Nigerian Army troops that she was originally from Madagali, Adamawa State, claiming she was the daughter of a Pastor and had been in Chibok for her exams. Contrary to reports issued by the Nigerian Army, he claims his records showed only two girls with the surname “Luka” and none of them were from Madagail, adding: “These are Kauna Luka Yana and Naomi Luka Dzakwa. Among the list of parents we have only four priests and none of them is Luka,” -and- “Among the girls none of them is from Madagali. They were either from Chibok, Damboa, Askira and Uba. So I can say… that this girl is not among the abducted Chibok girls.”
“Beyond reasonable doubt” is how a senior Nigerian military source described the possibility of the schoolgirl indeed being amongst the 218 still held. Adding “The military personnel who carried out the rescue operation and the civilian vigilantes who assisted them and those who know the girl confirmed that she is among those abducted. We can only change our position if the principal of the school or the government of Borno state come out and refute this established identity of the girl.”
Trying to relate or even comprehend the struggles that Amina and others have had to undergo is unfathomable. It’s difficult for Western culture to imagine what it must feel like to walk a mile in the shoes of one of these little girls. So regardless of any stresses, worries, or problems you may have in your life right now, take a moment today to reflect upon all the things you take for granted. Try to realize just how comfortable and fortunate your life is by comparison. Lastly, remember the name Amina Ali Nkeki. Why? Because whilst the mainstream media is informing the masses of Beyonce’s new hairstyle or Justin Beiber stubbing his toe, there are still 200+ young girls in danger and separated from their families in Nigeria. Every day that passes, the chances of their rescue and survival plummets.
If you would like to help support not only the Girls from Chibok, but the needs of all those of whom the Chibok girls symbolize–thousands upon thousands that have suffered gender-based violence at the hands of Boko Haram, do your bit to get involved. These atrocities are being considerably unaddressed.
You can donate to charity organizations like AUNF (American University of Nigeria Foundation) who’s “Feed and Read” program works to educate vulnerable youth in northeast Nigeria. You can also donate and learn more about their scholarship campaign. If you can’t afford to donate, you can help spread awareness by sharing this article and using the hashtags #BringBackOurGirls and #BBOG. Just a friendly reminder that it’s not only remote parts of the world that are in turmoil, we ALL are in the midst of a continuing global civil rights struggle.
This report prepared by Clint Peterson for The Fifth Column.