10 Years Later, Boko Haram Victim Recounts Harrowing Encounter and Escape

by Xara Aziz

Patience Bulus, one of the escaped Chibok girls who managed to escape out of Boko Haram’s grip 10 years ago will never forget what it was like to be kidnapped by the terrorist group. Even more disheartening for her is knowing that more girls are still under their control.

“I’m free, but the girls are still out there. I’m free but troubled, so I’m not completely free,” she told OkayAfrica.

The abduction of 276 girls, with 57 managing to escape, including Bulus, ignited worldwide condemnation and prompted the #BringBackOurGirls online campaign. Since then, numerous marches, campaigns, and initiatives have been launched to spotlight the girls’ plight. Despite efforts, nearly a hundred of them are still held captive, even a decade later.

“A lot of people talked about it at the time,” said Bulus, who is currently studying in the United States. “I thought the campaign would go far, but I’m very shocked that the girls are still in captivity. We don’t even hear what’s going on with them anymore – I feel like not enough has been done to bring them back home. I don’t want them to be forgotten.”

As the ten-year anniversary of the Chibok kidnapping approaches, renewed focus has been placed on the events of that night. However, much of this attention feels insincere to her.

“Why do we have to wait until 10 years before everyone is coming out writing about it, talking about it? What happened in between? After this ten-year anniversary, are we going to keep quiet again? I feel like people forget that this is a real story about real people. It wasn’t made-up. The girls are still out there. We don’t know how they’re sleeping or eating. It’s our real lives and it’s affecting us and the girls’ families. It’s traumatizing,” Bulus revealed.

The 27-year-old is still haunted by the memories of everything that occurred, unable to shake them from her mind.

“So imagine what it’s like for the girls who are still out there.”

In a few weeks, Bulus, who will be graduating soon, wrote a heartfelt letter to her sisters who are still missing. Despite the challenges of her college journey, she feels grateful to have reached this point and fulfilled her dreams of receiving an education. She eagerly anticipates a future where she can contribute to society and advocate for survivors of trauma and violence, amplifying their voices.

“I wrote my letter because I want the girls out there to know that I admire their courage and strengths,” she says. “I want them to know that they’re not forgotten, to keep holding on to God. I want them to know that though it may seem hard, I believe that one day they’ll all be returned home to their families.”

Read the letter below:

Dear Classmates,

I’m writing this letter with a heavy heart and hope that we will see each other again someday. Ever since that scary night when Boko Haram took us from our school in Chibok, life has not been the same. I managed to escape, but I can’t forget the bond we shared and the tough times we went through together.

I want you to know that I haven’t forgotten about you. Even though I’m free now, I think about you every single day. It breaks my heart to know that you’re still stuck in the forest, far away from your families. But please know that you’re not alone. I believe that God is watching over you, and I’m always praying for you.

I admire your courage and strength. I know it’s hard, but please don’t lose hope. Keep fighting for your freedom, no matter what. I know the road ahead might seem impossible, but remember, you’re not alone. Hold onto memories of home to keep you going.

One day, this nightmare will end. One day, you will be free again, and you will be together with your loved ones. Until then, remember that you’re loved, and you’re not forgotten.

With all my love and prayers,

Your friend and classmate,

Patience Bulus

Related Posts

Crown App