Chibok Girls: A Timeline

Government of Nigeria
3 min readMay 9, 2017
COMING HOME: A CHIBOK GIRLS’ DOCUMENTARY — containing exclusive interviews with some of the rescued girls (April 2017)

14th April, 2014: 276 girls are abducted from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, by the terrorist group Boko Haram. Fifty-seven (57) of them are able to escape shortly after the kidnap, while being transported by the terrorists, leaving 219 girls missing.

12th June, 2015: President Buhari, newly-sworn-in as President of Nigeria, meets with some of the parents of the abducted Chibok girls. Also present at the meeting are the Wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, and the Wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo.

17th July, 2015: The Department of State Services (DSS) opens negotiations with the group holding the Chibok girls. In return for the release of some of these girls, the group makes certain demands, including the release of some of their fighters in government custody. Security agencies inform President Buhari of these demands. The President assents, believing in the primacy of the safe return of the girls.

Last week of July 2015 and 1st week of August 2015: DSS notifies sister security agencies of negotiations, and presidential approval. Nigerian Army and Nigerian Air Force send specialists to commence detailed arrangements for the swap: work out logistics details, such as the number of persons (girls and detainees) to be swapped; the vehicles and aircraft required, necessary safeguards, and location of the swap.

1st August, 2015: Commencement of proceedings for the swap, following final approval by President Buhari.

4th August, 2015: Team of swap facilitators is transported to Maiduguri, Borno State. The Team is able to prove its sincerity to the girls’ captors. All things are in place for the already mutually-agreed swap; expectations are high. At the last minute, the captors issue a new set of demands, never previously discussed or negotiated prior to the movement to Maiduguri. This development stalls what would have been the first release process of the Chibok girls.

13th November, 2015: Fresh negotiation process initiated with the girls’ captors. It becomes clear that factionalisation within Boko Haram is posing a challenge to the negotiation efforts. Also some of the Boko Haram commanders instrumental to the initial negotiations have since died, in combat or as a result of rifts within the group. By the end of November 2015, it becomes clear that the factionalisation of Boko Haram is deep enough to derail the negotiation process.

December 2015: A third negotiation process commences. Failed to achieve results because of the unrealistic demands by Boko Haram. The Nigerian Government continues to explore negotiation opportunities.

January 2016: President Buhari meets with the parents of the abducted Chibok girls, in Abuja.

April 2016: In his message to the parents of the girls on the 2nd anniversary of the abduction, President Buhari assured that “the Federal Government and security agencies will continue to explore all possible options for the safe return of the girls.”

May 2016: Amina Ali Nkeki escapes from Boko Haram. She is the first of the abducted girls to find freedom, in more than two years.

October 2016: 21 of the abducted girls are released by Boko Haram, following another round of negotiations by the Nigerian government, with the support of local and international partners.

November 5, 2016: Another Chibok girl, Maryam Ali Maiyanga, finds freedom

December 2016: The rescued girls visit Chibok to celebrate Christmas with their families.

December 23, 2016: The Nigerian Army captures Camp Zairo, Boko Haram’s spiritual and operational Headquarters in the Sambisa Forest, Borno State

January 5, 2017: Another Chibok girl, Rakiya Abubakar — Number 24 — is rescued.

January 2017: The rescued girls are handed over to the Ministry of Women Affairs by the Department of State Security, to commence remedial education and vocational training in Abuja.

April 11, 2017: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in a Media Chat discloses that the Federal Government is in advanced negotiations with Boko Haram for the release of another batch of Chibok girls.

April 2017: President Buhari, in his message to commemorate the third anniversary of the abduction of the Chibok Girls, reiterates his total commitment to the safe return of the girls. He said:

“Like I have repeatedly said, the Federal Government is willing to bend over backwards to secure the release of the remaining Chibok girls. We have reached out to their captors, through local and international intermediaries, and we are ever ready to do everything within our means to ensure the safe release of ALL the girls.”

May 2017: A new batch of Chibok girls, numbering 82, is released following successful negotiations between the Nigerian Government and the girls’ captors.

September 2017: The first batch of Chibok girls will take up Federal Government Scholarships for their Secondary School education.

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