Raymond Inkabi, ICEHA
Exactly three years ago today, 276 female students were abducted from their school in Chibok, Nigeria, by the deadly terrorist sect, Boko Haram.
This immediately drew global condemnations, rallies, and protests spurring action from various governments, organizations and individuals – birthing the #BringBackOurGirls global call to action. Prior to this event, the extreme horrors of Boko Haram had been virtually ignored by the global community. 1,095 days have passed since the abduction, yet the terror continues. Sadly, of the 276 #ChibokGirls abducted, only 81 have escaped or been released, leaving 195 still in captivity at unknown locations. Today, many people will pray, commemorate and talk about the horrific acts, yet many will forget these children tomorrow.
Boko Haram has left an estimated 2.6 million people homeless, without food, water or hope since 2009. The deadly sect has used more than 200 female suicide bombers in its attacks. It has killed over 20,000 persons and was ranked as the world’s deadliest terror group by the Global terrorism Index in 2015. It continues to enjoy that designation today in spite of global outrage.
There has also been a surge in the number of female children used in Boko Haram terrorists ‘suicide’ attacks recently. Most of them are girls who have endured unimaginable suffering and sexual violence. And recruitment of new Boko Haram members focuses on those vulnerable males who have survived previous attacks but are re-victimized by hunger, homelessness, and the trauma of losing family. They often face a choice of painful death by starvation, or joining Boko Haram for lifesaving sustenance.
The International Coalition for the Eradication of Hunger and Abuse (ICEHA) was formed in the wake of the #ChibokGirls abduction, and continues to advocate for the release of the #ChibokGirls as well providing timely assistance, psychosocial support, education and relief to those survivors who have been attacked and displaced by Boko Haram.
As we commemorate this painful day, we continue to plead for more concerted efforts by the global community in securing the release of the remaining 195 girls who are still held against their will by the terrorists. These children must be returned safely to their parents immediately.
We also plead to stop the continuing re-victimization of other survivors by starvation, disease and sexual abuse they suffer after escaping the horrors of a Boko Haram attack. The global community must work together to stop the perpetuation of violence into future generations by addressing the deep psychological scars and starvation suffered by the original attacks as well as the re-victimization.
Our hearts and prayers are always with the missing 195 girls, hundreds of other missing child victims of Boko Haram who continue to go unrecognized, and those who continue to be re-victimized. We hope you will join is in raising our voices and rolling up our sleeves to help stop Boko Haram…today, and everyday!