By: Roger Hoke – Breaking News Editor
The militant terrorist group Boko Haram broke into international news in April 2014 when they kidnapped 200 young girls from their hometown of Chibok, Nigeria.
Nearly a year later, it is still unknown what has happened to the young women, reported CNN. Speculations arose in November 2014 that some girls had been sold, some had been married off and that all of them had been forcibly converted to Islam. Still nothing had been made official.
On Oct. 17, 2014, Nigerian officials believed they had succeeded in reaching a cease-fire with Boko Haram, which would have brought the girls back home, reported CNN. However, on Nov. 1, Abubakar Shekau, the group’s leader, released a video stating that there had been no cease-fire reached, and the girls would not be released.
The Twitter campaign #bringbackourgirls has helped to bring attention to the atrocity, but little success has been met in actually finding the girls and freeing them from Boko Haram. A year after their capture, little progress had been made in finding the girls and bringing them home, until recently.
The Nigerian president-elect Muhammadu Buhari hopes the girls can be found, but he told the New York Times that he will not give any false hope if he does not know for sure that they will be found.
“As much as I wish to, I cannot promise that we can find them: to do so would be to offer unfounded hope,” Buhari said Tuesday in an Op-Ed article in the New York Times.
The New York Times reported that Nigeria’s incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan, had stated many times that the girls would be found very soon, they had been located and that Boko Haram would not have a chance to keep them once they were found. So far, Jonathan’s promises have gone unfulfilled.
Buhari refuses to promise the girl’s safe return and stated that he was unsure whether or not they were still together or alive.
“Currently their whereabouts remain unknown,” he said. “We do not know the state of their health or welfare, or whether they are even still together or alive.”
THISDAY Live reported on Sunday that Nigerian ground troops had landed Sambisa forest in Nigeria with the intent of saving the lost girls. A Nigerian Air Force official told THISDAY Live that the operation will be successful and that the enemy’s defense systems were already weakened enough for troop to liberate the girls.
“The operation is nearing its conclusion and the army will be moving in tomorrow and I am sure in a matter of days, if plans goes accordingly the operations will be over,” the Nigerian Air Force official said. “The fear is that some of the girls might be amongst the women killed in Bama and other parts of the liberated towns, and Sambisa offers the more viable hope of all the remaining options to rescue the girls.”
The Sun News reported Saturday those Nigerian forces had penetrated the Boko Haram fortress in Sambisa, and they were focusing on finding the girls who have been gone for over a year.
“Presently, the military is moving into the Sambisa forest after taking Alagarno, Gwoza, Bama, Malam Fatori, Abadam, among others,” Mike Omeri, Nigerian federal government spokesman, said in an emailed statement to the Sun News Wednesday. “Our intelligence indicates that the present military operation is focused in the area where the girls are believed to be held.”
While there has been no official reporting of the girls’ status, Nigerian officials were able to save other prisoners in northeast Nigeria from Boko Haram.
Channels TV, a Nigerian television station, reported that Boko Haram had killed 12 people as military forces tried to save civilians from the terrorist group’s prisons. The evacuation was successful in saving an unknown number of prisoners, but the group slit the throats of those that did not get away.
“Some Boko Haram members attacked them and slit the throats of 12 people,” the witness said to Channels TV.
Boko Haram has recently been active in Cameroon as well, and killed 16 villagers there in the past week, reported CNN.
Hundreds of Boko Haram attackers came to Dia Village, Cameroon, in the northern part of the country this past week, and killed 16 people. The Nigerian military was successful in getting the attackers out of the village and saving many people, along with killing six of the violent terrorists.