(AFP) – A typical day for Deborah includes classes on a manicured university campus and exercise in the evening — basketball, volleyball or aerobics. On weekends, she studies, swims or just relaxes. But the teenager’s life now is one that was unimaginable 12 months ago.
On April 14 last year, she was in a packed dormitory at the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, northeastern Nigeria, seeking a night’s sleep before writing end-of-term exams. Boko Haram fighters stormed the school after sundown, kidnapping 276 girls.
The mass abduction provoked global outrage and brought unprecedented attention to an insurgency that has devastated northern Nigeria since 2009. Deborah was one of 57 girls who escaped within hours of the attack. Her life has changed but for the other 219 hostages still being held and for families desperate for news, the nightmare continues. Despite promises from the government and military that the release or rescue of the hostages was at hand, there has been no credible information concerning their whereabouts in months.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau vowed to sell the girls as “slaves” and later said they had been “married off”. Experts say both are possible and they are unlikely to still be all together.
– ‘Blessing in disguise’ –
Deborah and 20 other girls from Chibok who escaped Boko Haram captivity are now studying at the American University of Nigeria (AUN) in the northeastern city of Yola. LEARN MORE …