Doctor describes first sight of cousins kidnapped by Boko Haram
18 October 2016, 15:30
Abuja - A Nigerian doctor has reportedly described the moment when one of his cousins saw him at the official reunion ceremony for Chibok families in Abuja.
According to Voice of America, Dr Allen Manasseh reunited with his two cousins - Gloria Dame and Maryamu Lawan during the ceremony for the freed Chibok girls on Sunday.
"When she saw me, she could not say anything. She was just crying... And she was saying it was just like a dream, as if it was something they had given up on [returning home safely to their loved ones]," Manasseh was quoted as saying.
The doctor said he was overwhelmed due to the fact that the two girls looked like they had suffered greatly during their two-year ordeal.
"They look leaner than [before] they were abducted," he said.
The girls' lean bodies exposed their suffering at the hands of the insurgents, with Gloria revealing that they had been left without food for 40 days while being held hostage.
"For one month and 10 days we stayed without food. I narrowly escaped bomb blast in the forest.
"We are praying to God to touch the heart of Boko Haram to repent and we are calling on Nigerians to pray and fast for the release of our remaining ones in captivity," she said.
In April 2014, at least 76 girls were seized from their accommodation in the northeast town of Chibok as part of Boko Haram's campaign to establish an Islamist state in the region.
Scores of the girls escaped in the hours after the kidnapping, while another was rescued earlier this year.
The mass abduction drew global attention to the jihadist insurgency which has claimed some 20,000 lives and forced at least 2.6 million more to flee their homes since 2009.
Meanwhile, the Islamic State-allied faction of Boko Haram has reportedly expressed its willingness to negotiate the release of 83 more Chibok girls after freeing 21 of the more than 200 abductees last week.
According to SABC, Presidential Spokesperson Garba Shehu disclosed the development, adding that the Nigerian government was willing to broker a deal with the group.