“Some of the girls started jumping out of the truck, escaping and running away,” said Sa’a, then an 18-year-old senior. “I was sitting in the truck thinking my mom and my dad were at home now, didn’t know what was happening. They sent me to school. But, now, this is what is happening. I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know what they’re going to do with us.’’
Sa’a, wearing large 1970s-style sunglasses to retain some anonymity, spoke for a group of four kidnap victims at a town hall-style forum Monday morning at the Adrienne Arsht Center, organized by U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, international human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe and global media advocate John Yearwood, chairman of the International Press Institute and former world editor of the Miami Herald.
On Sunday, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said his administration would be willing to trade some captured Boko Haram fighters for the safe return of the remaining 218 hostages. He spoke in Nairobi, Kenya, as part of the Tokyo Conference on African Development.
“The terrorists are worthless. The girls are priceless,” said Ogebe. “I think it’s a good deal.”
Sa’a, now 20 and studying physical and biological science in the United States, described her ordeal to a crowd of about 100, who sat in stunned silence. The kidnapping of the 276 high school girls stirred outrage around the world.
“On the 14th of April of 2014, the Boko Haram entered Chibok town while we were in school,” Sa’s said. “It was at night while we were sleeping. We heard them shooting guns and yelling. We all woke up and we didn’t know what to do. Something similar to that had happened earlier (elsewhere). So the teachers said that if we heard something like that, we shouldn’t run away. We should wait for them to come and get us so we would know what to do.”