Kidnapped girls don't want to leave Boko Haram

Many of the Chibok schoolgirls still held by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria do not want to leave their jihadist captors, a community leader has claimed.

There were jubilant scenes in the capital Abuja this week after 21 of the girls were set free, the first successful breakthrough in negotiations between the Nigerian government and the militants, brokered by Switzerland.

But Pogu Bitrus, the chairman of the Chibok Development Association, said more than 100 of the remaining girls appeared unwilling to return home, either because they have been radicalised or they are ashamed of their experience.

Mr Bitrus told The Associated Press the 21 Chibok girls freed last week in the first negotiated release between Nigeria's government and Boko Haram should be educated abroad, because they will probably face stigma in Nigeria. They are expected to meet with Nigeria's president, Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday or Wednesday, he said.

Some 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped from a school in northeastern Chibok in April 2014. Dozens escaped early on and at least half a dozen have died in captivity, according to the newly freed girls, Mr Bitrus said. 

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. At least 20 of the girls are being educated in the United States. 

"We would prefer that they are taken away from the community and this country because the stigmatization is going to affect them for the rest of their lives," he said. "Even someone believed to have been abused by Boko Haram would be seen in a bad light." 

Mr Bitrus said that according to the testimony of the freed girls, the schoolgirls were split into two groups early on in their captivity, when Boko Haram commanders gave them the choice of joining the extremists and embracing Islam, or becoming their slaves.

The girls freed and those whose release is being negotiated, numbering 104, are believed to be in the group that rejected Islam and Boko Haram, he explained. The freed girls said they never saw the other girls again. 

Nigeria's government has denied reports that the girls were swapped for four Boko Haram commanders, or that a large ransom was paid. 

Additional reporting by agencies

Topics:  boko haram editors picks girls kidnapping leave refuses

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Dalby Space Collective: '150 potential jobs lost'

Project could have employed many over five years

QAS respond to Brigalow crash

Queensland Ambulance Services called to Brigalow.

Queensland Ambulance Services called to single-vehicle-crash.

Qld abortion law changes attract 2400 submissions

Abortion is still a hot topic in Queensland

More than 2400 submissions made on Qld abortion laws

Local Partners

Kanye West threatens to boycott Grammys

West says he won't go to the Grammys if Frank Ocean's not nominated

Why this actress wasn't embarrassed by nude photo leak

Leslie Jones source Bang

'If you wanna see Leslie Jones naked, just ask,' she said

Dad's Army comic genius Jim Perry dies

Jimmy Perry, the creator of Dad's Army.

Dad's Army series captured all that British people savour

Check out some fashions from the Coast festival

FASHION: Ocean Zen range.

Images from the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival show what's hot

Australian Survivor's magician Matt out of tricks

Australian Survivor contestant Matt Tarrant.

SHOW'S power couple looks unstoppable in race to the finish.

Top floor teams take out The Block's terrace week

Kim and Chris pictured on their winning outdoor terrace in a scene from The Block.

RIVALS Kim and Chris and Julia and Sasha tie in final week of work.

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.