by Azeezat Fadekemi Sulaiman
The audacious kidnapping of over 200 girls from their Dormitories at a school in Borno State on the 14th of April has now taken a tragic turn.
Channel 4 News has confirmed reports that 3 out of the scores of children kidnapped have now died. It is not clear what led to their deaths but according to the news channel, the deaths were confirmed by an intermediary who has been in talks with the suspected perpetrators of the act; Boko Haram since the abduction.
18 of the remaining girls are also thought to be seriously ill as the girls are exposed to harsh conditions in the Sambisa Forest area, where the insurgents are thought to be hiding.
The intermediary who has successfully negotiated the release of past hostages is said to have had contacts with senior members of the terrorist group for over 10 years and it is now being reported that the Government has employed his services as pressure mounts on authorities to act fast and save the remaining girls.
50 of the hostages are thought to have escaped amid fears that some of the girls have been sold off as slaves as brides for nothing more than the equivalent of £10.
Others are thought to have been trafficked to neighbouring countries like Chad and Cameroon.
There are also fears from Children’s rights groups that the girls may be used as sex slaves and forcibly converted to Islam as the insurgents have been known to do in the past.
Boko Haram whose name loosely translates to ‘Western Education is Forbidden’ has staged numerous attacks in Nigeria’s northern region, particularly Borno State, killing and raiding villages in vicious attacks that have led to the loss of hundreds of lives this year alone.
This latest abduction has seen united calls by Nigerians for the authorities to do more to safeguard the lives of citizens particularly in the wake of another bomb blast which rocked the capital city of Abuja, barely weeks after a blast that killed up to 70 went off during the morning rush hour.
There is now mounting pressure on President Goodluck Jonathan’s government to prevail on the army to bring back the remaining girls alive as fears grow that the longer they’re held in captivity, the more remote their chances of making it back alive.
Channel 4 news however reports that the insurgents are ‘seriously considering a deal’ that would lead to the release of the abducted girls.
Talks continue with the intermediary amid hopes that the girls can be returned safely to their parents in time.