After spending about 87 months in captivity, Pogu Ruth, one of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram, last week regained her freedom, officials said.
Ruth, according to government officials, surrendered herself to soldiers of the Nigeria Army while in the company of a man suspected to be a member of the terror group whom she introduced as the man she got married to while in captivity.
The young woman, abducted as a Christian, appeared in full Hijab.
Ruth, who was on April 14 2014 abducted alongside 275 other schoolgirls after armed insurgents invaded her school dormitory in Chibok village, is now in her mid 20s and a mother of two children. Her appearance with two children, confirms how women and girls are either raped or forced into marital union with their captors.
She is believed to be the 108th of the abducted schoolgirls to have regained freedom since their abduction on April 14, 2014.
A total of 219 of the 276 schoolgirls that were herded out of their dormitory by the terrorists could not escape while they were being taken to Sambisa forest.
According to a statement released by the government of Borno State, Northeast Nigeria, Ruth and her supposed spouse and two children surrendered themselves to the Nigerian troops at a location near Bama town.
Isa Gusau, the spokesman to Babagana Zulum, the Governor of Borno State said the governor had on Saturday, August 7, “received Ms Ruth Ngladar Pogu.”
“Ruth, alongside someone she was said to have married during her captivity, surrendered herself to the Nigerian military on July 28, 2021 at a location in Bama,” Gusau mentioned in the statement.
The government did not disclose the development to the public until Saturday evening when her parents and family members were duly identified and contacted.
“Under Zulum’s supervision, the security and government officials kept the development secret and used the last 10 days to contact her parents and association of parents of the missing schoolgirls in order to ascertain her identity,” Gusau said.
An emotional reunion
It was an emotional reunion for Ruth and her aged mother when the duo set eyes on each other seven years and three months after the latter’s disappearance.
Governor Zulum who supervised the reunion said “it was a boost to keeping the hopes of parents, other family members and the Borno State alive in the optimism that others still in captivity, will be safely found and in good health.”
The Governor said he would, in collaboration with Ruth and her parents, facilitate the rehabilitation and reintegration programme that will focus on her health, psychosocial well-being, and her chosen path to a productive future, all of which will be determined by her.
“I am extremely excited both as Borno’s Governor and father of all sons and daughters of the state, and as a father to daughters. I know the feeling of the families of those still under captivity, but we have to remain hopeful especially with today’s development,” Zulum said.
Yakubu Keki, Chairman of the Chibok Girls Movement, conveyed the happiness of the Chibok people over the return of Ruth.
“The people of Chibok appreciate the efforts of security establishments and the concern and support regularly shown by Governor Zulum on the plight of parents whose daughters are still missing,” Keki said.
“We are indeed happy and grateful to God that after all these years, one of our daughters in captivity has returned safely.”
Many remain unaccounted
With the return of Ruth Pogu, the number of abducted Chibok schoolgirls believed to be in captivity has now reduced to 111.
However, sources within the insurgency told HumAngle that due to several factors, “only dozens of the abducted school girls are accounted for,” but there has not been any independent confirmation on this yet.
Their abduction on April 14, 2014, and with the immediate escape of 57 of them, Boko Haram terror group had taken 219 of the girls into the bush and held them captives until May 2016 when one of the girls, aged 19 was found with a four-month-old baby and in the company of a man she identified as her husband.
The first major release of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls happened in October 2016 after the Nigerian officials, that of Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross negotiated the release of 21 of the girls.
Later in Nov. 2016. one girl was found by the Nigeria army, and later another one was also found in Jan. 2017.
In May 2017, the Nigerian government negotiated yet another release of 82 girls whom the armed insurgents allowed to go in exchange for five Boko Haram commanders as part of demands made by the abductors.
In early Jan. 2018, the Nigerian military announced the rescue of another Chibok schoolgirl somewhere in Borno State.
Support Our Journalism
There are millions of ordinary people affected by conflict in Africa whose stories are missing in the mainstream media. HumAngle is determined to tell those challenging and under-reported stories, hoping that the people impacted by these conflicts will find the safety and security they deserve.
To ensure that we continue to provide public service coverage, we have a small favour to ask you. We want you to be part of our journalistic endeavour by contributing a token to us.
Your donation will further promote a robust, free, and independent media.Donate Here