She goes by the name Sa’a because — even three years after jumping from a moving truck to escape the Boko Haram terrorists that had kidnapped her and 275 other mostly Christian schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria — she fears for her safety and that of the rest of her family.
“My message to everyone is that it’s been three years now,” Sa’a told Breitbart News three years to the day of her abduction.
“Not three days, or three months, but three years,” Sa’a, who now lives in the United States, said at an event at the Newseum’s Religious Freedom Center in Washington D.C. to mark the anniversary of the event. “Every individual that has power to do something that would bring those girls back should just do something.”
Since that fateful day, 57 girls, including Sa’a, escaped from the radical Islamic terrorists. Last October, the Nigerian government worked out a deal with Boko Haram to return 21 more of the girls, many of whom has been raped, some returning with children in tow.
That leaves 195 girls who are still missing.
“It is fitting that this happened on Good Friday,” said Emmanuel Ogebe, a Nigerian human rights attorney based in Washington D.C. who has sponsored 15 young women survivors from Nigeria, including Sa’a, to come and study in the United States.
“When Jesus died the sun hid its face in shame because of what happened,” Ogebe said. “Now the world should hide its face in shame because it has forgotten the 195 girls that are still missing.”
Ogebe, who has traveled to Nigeria on many occasions to help survivors and to lobby the Nigerian government to do more to secure the release of the remaining victims, said he knows that some of the girls have died. One girl, he said, was stoned to death when she refused to convert to Islam.
“This is way beyond just hashtags,” Ogebe said of the social media #bringbackourgirls movement that happened after one of the largest mass abductions in modern history.
“There are practical things that can be done,” Ogebe said, adding that keeping the story in the public consciousness is one of those things.
And, Ogebe said, Boko Haram continues to abduct Nigerian girls and uses them for the “unspeakable practice” of suicide bombing.
This week, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) confirmed that fact.
“UNICEF emphasized Wednesday that beyond the high-profile Chibok abductions, the practice of kidnapping children and forcing them to associate with the armed group has been prevalent,” the Associated Press reported.
“Young girls are spotted in the markets, and nighttime raids drag them from their beds,” UNICEF reported. “In some cases, parents are killed in front of the girls during the process.”
“This is typically followed by an extended journey to a Boko Haram base in the forest where the girls are forced into early marriage and sexual slavery,” UNICEF reported.
Ogebe said that the Nigerian government is not transparent about its dealings with Boko Haram or about the girls who were released in October. All remain in the custody of the government and have not been reunited with their families.
“We don’t think the Nigerian government is doing anything much about rescuing the girls,” Seshugh Akume of the Bring Back Our Girls organization, told USA Today on Thursday. “We are disappointed.”
“The general attitude is they wish everybody to keep quiet about it and move on because they get angry whenever the missing Chibok girls are mentioned,” Akume said.
But Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari marked the anniversary by calling it one of the worst crimes committed against his country.
“I wish to reassure the parents of the Chibok girls, all well-meaning Nigerians, organizations and the international community, that as a government, we are unrelenting on the issue of the safe return of our children,” said Buhari, who campaigned for office by promising to recover the victims.
“If I stop telling my story people will forget my classmates,” Sa’a said.