Former captive brings news about school girls held by Boko Haram

The militant group Boko Haram has inflicted widespread terror on the Nigerian population, including the abduction of more than 200 school girls in Chibok last year. For the first time, we hear news of their condition. Jonathan Miller of ITN news has the story.

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    Now to Nigeria and those running away from the terrorist group Boko Haram.

    Jonathan Miller reports from a camp where thousands are seeking refuge and he meets a young woman who was recently held captive alongside the abducted schoolgirls.


    In the heat and the dust, there's a desperate scramble for handouts for those left with nothing. Bereft, disenfranchised and broken by Boko Haram, these survivors of rebel attacks across Northeastern Nigeria live hand-to-mouth, with little or no help from their government, 2,000 in this informal camp on the outskirts of Abuja, no money, no food, no work, no hope of heading back home.

  • MAN (through translator):

    So many places, 27 local governments affected in Borno, all has been target to Boko Haram.

  • MAN (through translator):

    When they start burning the houses, everybody — everybody will run away from the houses. Then they will fetch out all the men from there. Anyone that they fetch, they may kill him.


    If you have had one of your relatives killed by Boko Haram, would you raise your arm? Oh, so many of you.

    A chorus of voices. "All of us," they say. For some, it's their father. For some, it's their husband, brothers or children. "My mother," says one. Some miscarried. Others buried their husbands before starting walking for miles.

    Every single person who has fled the scorched-earth rampage of Boko Haram has a horrifying story to tell. Many still shudder at the very sound of their name. They have turned lives upside-down, split up families, looted, burned, raped, murdered, and kidnapped.

    And it was when I was talking to one kidnap victim that she told me that she had been held with some of the lost Chibok girls as recently as three months ago.

    Monica (ph) was abducted, then marched for weeks into the Sambisa forest, the lair of Boko Haram. For three days, last November, she was held with 24 of the missing 219 schoolgirls from Chibok.

  • WOMAN (through translator):

    They just spend their time thinking about their parents and crying. I would comfort them and tell them that they should have faith and that, with God's help, he will open a way for them to go home.

    I would say to them it's not your fault. You were just trying to get an education. Look, even when they say they want to sell you, keep your faith in God and pray.


    This is the first news of any of them since this video eight months ago purporting to show their forced conversion to Islam. Monica says they remained true to their Christian faith. She said they'd been coerced to cook for their captors, but were unharmed, just terribly homesick. They had been divided into several small groups.

    When Monica escaped, she walked for days through the bush with no food. Her baby died on the way. She says she is haunted by memories of the day Boko Haram attacked and burned down her village and her young life changed forever.

  • WOMAN (through translator):

    When they came into village, I was terrified. I was actually pregnant. We ran to the mountain. I was so scared. Even now, my body shakes with fear when I hear the words Boko Haram.


    There is now a vast tract of this country where going to school is an act of defiance, but there's not a schoolchild in Nigeria who doesn't know of the girls from Chibok and will rejoice in the news that we now know some of them are alive.

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