West & Central Africa

Parents of Dapchi girls criticise government inaction

Hafsat Haruna was only 12 years old in Junior class at the Government Girls Science and Technical College when she was abducted by Boko Haram on 19 February along with 109 other girls.

Her father (who wanted to remain anonymous) in his interview with Global Christian News said, “It is difficult to
explain how we feel in the family and especially her mother. Hafsat is the third of four other siblings and we have committed to have her educated. Now her life has taken a dramatic turn. Why should a little girl like this go through this experience in life. Why?”

Compounding the pains of the family is also the fact that no one is saying anything to the parents.

“The government has not spoken to us, security agencies have not said anything,” Hafsat’s father said. “Everyone is saying what they want in the media and we see all the confusion and blame game but no one thinks it’s important to speak to us the parents.”

In the case of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls it took concernted local and international pressure to bring about government interest weeks after they had disappeared.

Reports have also indicated that some of the girls have medical conditions. Habiba Jekana, one of the abducted girls is said to suffer from sickle cell. On the night of the abduction Boko Haram terrorists did not leave even the sick behind. Despite her inability to walk a friend lifted Habiba on to her back, thinking she was saving her from a

Boko Haram attack, and carried her over to the truck of the terror group, and hoisted her in. Those driving the truck in the midst of the commotion shouted: “Stop, stop! We are not Boko Haram! We are soldiers, get into our vehicles. We will save you,” said Usman Mohammed, the security guard on duty in the school that night.

The fate of the girls that night was left in the hands of a local vigilante group who were helpless against the horde of insurgents.

Mainama Jakana, who said his daughter has a disability, followed the trucks, along with other people, when the community realized what was going on.

“I followed one of the trucks carrying them,” he said. “I could hear the girls crying in the back of the truck, so I called out to the men. I pleaded with them to let my daughter go. I said she was not feeling well and she was a cripple. They told me to go back home. I kept on chasing the truck until it turned into the dusty road into the forest.”

The military said the army post stationed a few miles from the village was pulled out days earlier in order to beef up other areas of need for security in the troubled north-eastern region but critics say the abduction was a pre-planned operation with possible insider support.

While state and federal governments and the security agencies trade blames and politicians try to score cheap points, parents agonize on whether this will be another years of pains, controversies and possible deaths of some of the girls in captivity as it was with the Chibok schoolgirls, Hafsat’s father said.

 

Hassan John is West Africa Editor, GCN and priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos

Image credits: Google images/Dapchi School students/Parents/