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Five Chibok parents receive calls from missing girls’ mobile phones

13/04/2016 13:02

Five parents of the abducted 219 Chibok schoolgirls have received calls from the phone numbers of their missing daughters, our correspondent gathered on Tuesday.


The parents who reportedly called back the lines were however told off by the respondents at the other end.


The Chairman, Chibok Community in Abuja, Tsambido Abana, told our correspondent that the community planned to report the incident to the government for investigation.


“Five parents informed me that they have been receiving calls from their daughters’ phones, but when they called back, the persons that responded said the phones were their own and that they should stop calling the lines. We don’t know if the network (telecom firms) had allocated the girls’ lines to other persons or if the callers were just playing pranks on the parents; we will report this to the government for security agencies to investigate,” Abana said.


The Chibok elder could not however confirm when the parents received the calls, saying he was just informed about it on Tuesday.


Meanwhile, a 16-year-old girl identified as Fati, who regained freedom after spending two years in Boko Haram’s captivity, has explained how teenage girls volunteer to go on suicide missions in order to escape molestation and other forms of hardship under the sect.


Fati, whose name was changed to protect her identity, said young girls fight to strap on a bomb, not because they were brainwashed by their captors but because the relentless hunger and sexual abuse became too much to bear.


“They came to us to pick us. They would ask, ‘Who wants to be a suicide bomber?’ The girls would shout, ‘me, me, me.’ They were fighting to do the suicide bombings,” Fati told CNN.


“It was just because they want to run away from Boko Haram. If they give them a suicide bomb, then maybe they would meet soldiers, tell them, ‘I have a bomb on me’ and they could remove the bomb. They can run away.”


The teenager who was kidnapped from her village by the insurgents  shared her experience with CNN at a refugee camp in Cameroon.


“We said, ‘No, we are too small; we don’t want to get married, so they married us by force,” Fati said, explaining that after he raped her for the first time, her abuser gave her a wedding present – a purple and brown dress with a matching headscarf that she would wear for the next two years.


While under his control, she explained that she was whisked from one hideouts to another hideouts in order to evade security forces. She recalled that she met girls even younger than her in Sambisa Forest, some of whom she claimed were the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.


“There were so many kidnapped girls there, I couldn’t count. There were always bombs and bullets coming from the sky. All of the girls were so frightened. All of them, they always cried and the men raped us. There is no food, nothing. The children, you can count their ribs because of the hunger,” said Fati, who is now in Minawao refugee camp in Cameroon.


Fati said, “Many girls are still in Sambisa, some volunteering to die so that they can perhaps live.”


The United Nations International Children Emergency Fund has said Boko Haram’s use of child bombers has increased over the last year with one in five suicide attacks now done by children.


In a report titled, Beyond Chibok, UNICEF said that boys abducted and recruited into Boko Haram’s ranks were forced to attack their own families to demonstrate their loyalty, while girls were exposed to severe abuse including sexual violence and forced marriage to fighters.


The UN report was released as Nigeria approaches the second anniversary of the kidnapping by Boko Haram of more than 200 girls from their boarding school in Chibok.


“Girls, who are often drugged, were behind three-quarters of such attacks committed by the militant Islamist group in Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad.


“It is an 11-fold increase with four attacks in 2014 compared to 44 the next year, including January 2016,” the report said, adding that the change in tactics reflected the loss of territory by the terrorist group.


UNICEF said up to 1.3 million children have been forced from their homes across Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger.


A 17-year-old girl who was abducted and is living with her baby in a camp Maiduguri told the UN agency that she refused to marry despite death threats.


“Then they came for me at night. They kept me locked in a house for over a month and told me: ‘Whether you like it or not, we have already married you,” she narrated.



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