Boko Haram has released 192 hostages, mostly young girls, so they can return to their village of Katarko in Yobe. Despite the happy news for the young women and the families, hundreds remain in their custody as the world continues to be unable to stop the Islamist terrorists.
Boko Haram kidnapped the women on January 6 from Katarko, which is about 12 miles away from the state capital of Damaturu.
According to the New York Times, dozens of armed Boko Haram terrorists burst into the village that day. They burned homes, businesses, and killed 25 men during the kidnapping.
The raid was reportedly in retaliation. Some local hunters and vigilantes got in a skirmish with the militants, leaving several terrorists dead and more in police custody.
Unlike the famous kidnappings in Chibok last year, the attack on Katarko received little media attention. Raids from the terrorist organization had become so common that interest petered out.
The women, now reunited with what’s left of their village, are no doubt happy their ordeal is over.
Katarko community leader Goni Mari told the AFP how the release happened.
“They brought them in two batches in four trucks and dropped them at Girbuwa village, eight kilometres from Damaturu, from where we conveyed them to the city and they were taken into government custody.”
The women were kicked out of Boko Haram for refusing to follow their strict rules and religious code.
One of the survivors told Reuters, “they say, since you have refused to accept our mode of religious teachings, go and follow your ‘infidels, we hereby order you to leave.”
The terrorist group is apparently quite strict.
Still, about 20 boys from the raid remain in Boko Haram’s custody. Young male children are often conscripted into the militant group’s army, forced to fight side-by-side with their kidnappers, and even help out with future abductions.
Mass abduction has become the most notorious aspect of Boko Haram’s terrorist campaign. Last year, the group famously kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from Chibok, a small Nigerian town. Celebrities and world leaders started the hashtag campaign #Bringbackourgirls. A photo of Michelle Obama holding up the hashtag became a symbol of the world’s support, although the movement failed to produce lasting results.
That kidnapping, and Boko Haram in general, has faded from the news in many countries, even though their horrific acts continue. As for those original kidnapping victims, about 57 escaped, leaving another 219 in Boko Haram’s terrible custody.
With world-wide attention focused elsewhere and the Nigerian government still struggling, Boko Haram shows no sign of stopping its terrible campaign.
[Image Credit: Michelle Obama/Wikimedia Commons]