There are strong indications that over 100 of the schoolgirls abducted by militants of Boko Haram sect from Chibok may be unwilling to leave their Islamic extremist captors.
This is just as the federal government of Nigeria embarks on negotiations that would see the release of another 83 of the Chibok schoolgirls taken in a mass abduction by Boko Haram in 2014.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Pogu Bitrus, the chairman of the Chibok Development Association revealed that the unwilling girls may have been radicalised by Boko Haram, or are ashamed to return home because they were forced to marry and have babies for the extremists.
Mr Bitrus urged the Nigerian government to ensure that the 21 ‘just released’ Chibok girls be educated abroad, because of the likelihood of stigmatisation within communities in the country.
“All those who escaped on their own have left Chibok because, even though they were held only a few hours, they were labelled “Boko Haram wives” and taunted,” he said.
“We would prefer that they are taken away from the community and this country because the stigmatisation is going to affect them for the rest of their lives,” he said, adding that, “Even someone believed to have been abused by Boko Haram would be seen in a bad light.”
Speaking in the same vein, Mausi Segun, a researcher in Nigeria for Human Rights Watch, said the negative reaction of conservative communities would mean it was unlikely the released women would be able to return to Chibok.
“Any sign that there has been sexual contact with any man, and these men are Boko Haram, will cause a backlash. The likelihood they will return home is slim,” Segun said.
Chibok is a small and conservative Christian enclave in mainly Muslim northern Nigeria, where many parents are involved in translating the Bible into local languages and belong to the Nigerian branch of the Elgin, Illinois-based Church of the Brethren.