A film in Nigeria remembers the Chibok girls kidnapped 10 years ago, and unites broken families


ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Not a day goes by that Lawan Zana doesn’t remember his daughter Aisha in his prayers. She was one of 276 schoolgirls who were abducted 10 years ago when Islamic extremists stormed their school in the village of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria.

“I feel too angry to talk about it,” said Zanna, 55, whose daughter is one of about 100 girls still missing. 2014 kidnapping Which shocked the world and spawned the global #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign.

The Chibok kidnapping was the first major school kidnapping in the West African nation. Since then, at least 1,400 students Kidnappings have taken place, particularly in the conflict-torn North West and Central regions. Most victims were freed after ransom was paid or through government-backed deals, but suspects are rarely arrested.

This year, to mark the 10th anniversary of a largely forgotten tragedy, members of the Chibok community of Borno state gathered Thursday to attend a screening of “Statues Also Breathe” in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub. Joe French artist Prune Nouri and Nigeria’s Obafemi Awolowo University.

“This collaboration aims to raise awareness of the plight of girls who are still missing, while highlighting the global struggle for girls’ education,” Nouri said.

The 17-minute film begins with an aerial view of the 108 figurines – a number of the girls were still missing when the art project began – which are based on everything from their facial expressions, to their hairstyles, to photographs provided by their families. By using this, girls try to look like they do today. Visible pattern.

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The film depicts the artistic process behind performing arts, First shown in November 2022Which includes human head-shaped sculptures inspired by ancient Nigerian Ife terracotta heads.

In the film, one of the freed women talks about the horrors she was subjected to in captivity. “We had to suffer, we were beaten. (But) Allah (God) made me strong,” he said.

It also expresses an outpouring of emotions as grieving mothers recall the life they had when their daughters were at home.

A woman in the film says of her missing child, “When it’s Ramadan time (…) Ayesha decorates my hair with henna and all kinds of decorations.”

But Ayesha has not come home for 10 years.

Another scene shows a woman hesitating when asked to go and see her daughter’s face that had been sculpted. “If I go and see it, it will bring up sad memories,” she said, her weak voice trailing off.

According to Chioma Egwuegbo, an activist who is part of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, Nigerian authorities have not made enough efforts to free the remaining women and those who have regained their freedom have not been properly cared for.

“We have normalized the absurd in Nigeria,” Egwuegbo said school kidnapping in nigeria, “After 10 years, this is an indictment not only on the government but also on our security forces and even the citizens themselves.”

Analysts are concerned that the same security lapses that led to the Chibok kidnapping still exist in many schools. A recent survey by the Nigeria office of the UN children’s agency found that only 43% of more than 6,000 surveyed schools met minimum safety standards.

According to Nnamdi Obasi, senior adviser for Nigeria at the International Crisis Group, “Basic safety and security arrangements in schools are weak and sometimes non-existent,” adding that military and police personnel are still “grossly inadequate and overstretched.”

Authorities rarely provide updates on efforts to free the Chibok women. However, some freed women have said in the past that those still missing have been forced to marry extremists, as is often the case with female abduction victims.

About a dozen Chibok women managed to escape captivity since early 2022. She returned with all the children.

One of the Chibok mothers in the film says, “I think we shouldn’t even think about them anymore.” “I feel like they’re already gone.”

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