Boko Haram: Chibok People Combed Sambisa Forest Hoping To Rescue Schoolgirls Like Amina Ali Nkeki

The successful rescue of Amina Ali Nkeki has prompted a group of Chibok people to comb Sambisa Forest hoping that they would find the remaining schoolgirls who were abducted in April 2014 by terrorist group Boko Haram.

The 19-year-old was found breastfeeding her baby who was conceived in captivity. A suspected Boko Haram fighter, Mohammed Hayatu, was with her that time. Many believe he was her husband by forced marriage. The local vigilante group that found her said that her condition was deplorable and that she immediately asked for bread.

An army is reportedly drawing up new plans to rescue the remaining Chibok girls. Previous attempts have proven to be challenging because of mines and booby traps present in the forest. Soldiers have also encountered guerrillas in their rescue missions.

Saturday Vanguard reports that after Amina’s rescue, many people of Chibok went to the forest hoping that they would find the missing schoolgirls. The people allegedly saw an abundance of strange things in the forest but opted not to detail them for security reasons.

“While we were in the forest with over 200 volunteers who only had cutlasses, bows, arrows and sticks, we came across different make-shift camps suspected to be owned by the terrorists. It is however unfortunate that we had to turn back when we met one good Samaritan in the forest who advised us that it was in our own interest to go back because the area we were approaching in the forest was a dead zone dominated by terrorists.”

They said that finding Amina “alive, hale, and hearty” restored their hopes. Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari will do his best to help Amina return to normal life the soonest possible. According to Buhari, the Nigerian government will provide her the best medical and psychological assistance that they can afford to help her cope with her traumatic experiences.

“The continuation of Amina’s education, so abruptly disrupted, will definitely be a priority of the Federal Government. Amina must be enabled to go back to school. No girl in Nigeria should be put through the brutality of forced marriage. Every girl has the right to an education and a life choice.”

Buhari said that while nothing can be done to “reverse the horrors of her past,” the government will assist her recovery process so that she may become reintegrated again into the society where she was snatched at an early age.

The President promised that they wouldn’t stop searching for the remaining Chibok girls whose lives changed because of the mass abduction.

Human rights activists, however, have criticized the government. Several groups believe that the Nigerian authorities should prioritize rescuing Amina’s peers instead of staging media appearances. After being saved, Amina was brought to her village for a brief reunion with her mother and brother. Her father reportedly died because of trauma brought by his daughter’s disappearance.

Amina was then taken to Maiduguri where the capital’s governor told her that President Buhari would “show her to the nation.” Some feel that parading Amina isn’t necessary because the lives of others are still in grave danger.

As per Amina, all the Chibok girls remain in the forest although six have already died following the abduction. The Sambisa Forest is the hideout of the group that has pledged its allegiance to ISIS. Boko Haram has committed indescribable atrocities against the kidnapped girls. Some are trained as soldiers while many are forced into sexual slavery or inappropriate marriages.

Since 2014, many have tried to raise awareness for the missing girls. United States First Lady Michelle Obama initiated the #BringBackOurGirls campaign together with Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai. The hashtag immediately went viral making it one of the biggest social media campaigns known.

When news about Amina surfaced, #ChibokGirlAminaAli also trended. Many hope that the campaign will not be an example of “clicktivism” or an online campaign that’s popular but does not actually make a difference.

[AP Photo/Sunday Alamba]