63 Abducted Girls and Women Escape Boko Haram

According to the Associated Press, more than 60 Nigerian girls and women abducted by Islamic extremist group Boko Haram have managed to escape their captors.

Chibok local government chairman Pogu Bitrus said Monday he had verified that about 60 women and girls escaped on Thursday and Friday by sending a representative who met with some of the escapees and their families at the hospital in Lassa, a town in the neighboring Damboa local government area.

Vigilante leader Abbas Gava in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, said Sunday that vigilantes in the area told him 63 women and girls escaped Friday while their captors were engaged in a major attack on a military barracks and police headquarters in Damboa town.

However, of the 276 girls seized in April — which drew global condemnation toward both Boko Haram and the Nigerian government, which seemed both unwilling and unable to stop the terrorist group — 57 have escaped; 219 are still missing, many of them schoolgirls.

Activists of the Bring Back Our Girls movement have not given up. They attempted to march on the presidential palace in Abuja Sunday in hopes of pressuring the government to do something. Security forces turned them back. 

“It’s 83 days today that the girls have been abducted,” activist Aisha Yesufu told the press “We have been coming out for 68 days and nobody has really listened to us.”

However, security experts say this isn’t necessarily a case of the government not wanting to help, it’s that they don’t have the ability to fight back. The military is considered to be stretched too thin and have fewer resources than Boko Haram, a group that has killed thousands in their five-year campaign for an independent Islamic state in the north.