Some abducted Chibok schoolgirls refuse to be ‘freed’

Some of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted three years ago by the extremist Boko Haram sect refused to be part of a group of 82 girls freed at the weekend, a mediator involved in the release said on Monday.

Mediator and lawyer, Zannah Mustapha, said some of the abducted girls refused to go home, fuelling fears that they have been radicalised by the jihadists, and may feel afraid, ashamed or even too powerful to return to their old lives. .
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“Some girls refused to return … I have never talked to one of the girls about their reasons,” said 57-year-old Mr. Mustapha, who acted as an intermediary in the latest negotiations between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram. “As a mediator, it is not part of my mandate to force them (to return home),” he added. .
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Many women and girls abducted by Boko Haram identify with their captors, may not want to give up their new lives with their militant husbands, or feel forced to stay due to fear or shame, according to Nigerian psychologist Fatima Akilu. .
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“They develop Stockholm syndrome, identify with captors and want to remain,” said Ms. Akilu, who has run deradicalisation programmes for Boko Haram militants and women abducted by them. .
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“Some are afraid of what to expect, the unknown. We don’t know how much influence their husbands have in coercing them not to go back,” added Ms. Akilu, head of the Neem Foundation, a non-profit group aimed at countering extremism in Nigeria.

 

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