Thirteen of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014 have died in the insurgents’ custody, according to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report monitored by TheCable News, an online news outlet.Boko Haram fighters had kidnapped the girls from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno state.Of that number, 163 are now free: 57 fled in the early days after their abduction, three more escaped later, and a Swiss-coached mediation secured 103.
In a revealing report on the kidnap incident, WSJ quoted officials in the know regarding the abduction as saying 13 of the girls have lost their lives during their nearly three years in Boko Haram custody.
“Of the remaining 113, at least 13 have died, officials say. Some were felled by malaria, hunger or a snake bite,” WSJ report said.
“The majority died in airstrikes. Among those forcibly married to fighters, at least two died in childbirth.”
TheCable was unable to independently verify any of the claims.
The Bring Back Our Girls Movement (BBOG) has been on the forefront of the campaign for the girls’ release.
The group recently resumed their match to Aso Rock, Nigeria’s seat of power, asking questions concerning the girls’ whereabouts while they also continue to hold a daily sit-out at the Unity Fountain in Abuja.
After the release of the last batch of the girls numbering 82, President Muhammadu Buhari had promised to ensure the last of the girls return home.
The report also said contrary to what is now common knowledge, the insurgents had only come to steal the girls’ school’s bricklaying machine.
It was only after they had stolen the machine that one of them raised question: “What shall we do with them (the girls)?”
The report said: “The night of the attack, when the girls emerged in the courtyard, they could see the men were not soldiers. They wore unkempt beards, flip-flops and tattered uniforms. Several were raiding the school cafeteria, stealing sacks of rice, beans and pasta. Others poured gasoline on the school to torch it.
“Boko Haram had not come to abduct the students. It had come to steal the school’s brickmaking machine. The insurgents had been on a kidnapping spree, and their camps faced a housing shortage.
“A commander fired his rifle in the air and demanded to know where the machine was kept. Once they found it, the fighters hoisted it onto a truck.
“As they prepared to leave, one militant, motioning to the students, asked a fateful question. What shall we do with them?
“The unit’s commander turned to the girls. ‘Shekau will know what to do with them,’ he said.
“The fighters ordered the students to climb into their trucks. The teenagers linked hands and arms as they stumbled through the dark.”