Scenes of joy, emotion and hope erupted in the Nigeria capital Abuja over the weekend after 21 girls kidnapped – and freed – by Boko Haram were finally reunited with their families after more than two years.
“I never expected I will see my daughter again and I pray that those girls still left behind, God will bring them out safely the way our own daughter came out alive,” the mother of Raha Emmanuel, one of the freed girls, told the Associated Press (AP).
In April 2014, the radical Islamist group Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 high school students in the remote town of Chibok and kept them in their hideout for more than two years.
But the first group (21) was freed last week after several rounds of intense negotiations between the government and the terrorist group. Though dozens of the girls have managed to escape, more than 190 are still held captive somewhere in the north-east of Nigeria.
Many are believed to have been converted to Islam, married to the group fighters and had babies.
But there was some hope when the government announced that the group was willing to release 83 of the 197 still in captivity ‘very soon’.
In the past decade, Nigeria, Africa’s second-biggest oil producer, has been going through difficult challenges, ranging from security to economic and political.
Millions of Nigerians had gone abroad in the quest for a better life, as the country, one of Africa’s greatest, fell deep into the abyss of massive corruption, poverty, unemployment and nepotism.
Photo: Nigeria’s kidnapped Chibok girls reunite with their families in Abuja. credit: DW/DPA