Everyone on the last chopper that brought back the released Chibok girls was overcome with emotions at the sheer bravery and horrid experiences of the girls, a new account by a Nigerian soldier disclosed.
In a series of Twitter threads, an anonymous soldier simply identified as Left Lieutenant (@Google_12point7) shared some of his experiences from the war front.
One of the most compelling was his account of some of the rescued Chibok girls from his interaction with them on the flight.
In April 2014, 276 female students were kidnapped from the Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria.
Responsibility for the kidnappings was claimed by Boko Haram. Subsequently, 57 of the schoolgirls escaped in the months following the incident, while others were rescued by Nigerian military forces on several occasions since.
In May 2017, 82 more girls were freed and it was the flight to Abuja where they were to be handed to the President that this soldier narrates.
He said, “6 May 17, I was privileged to fly on the last chopper that brought back the released Chibok girls. Seeing the girls – young, naive BUT broken, was a reminder of how cruel man is.
“When we touched down, I stayed with them briefly in the C-130 before the Abuja lap. Military medics began basic checks, deworming them and tending their wounds.
“There was one particular girl who had lost a leg. She said the Air Force had hit Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) positions and during the strike, she lost a leg,” Left Lieutenant narrated.
He said that he stared at her, hoping it was all a dream but was shaken out f his reverie when he saw the other girl sitting beside her.
This other girl, whom he described as the bravest girl he had ever met, kept a journal of the daily events at the Boko Haram (BH) camp.
“For the purpose of this thread, let us call her ‘N’. N kept a daily journal of what happened every day at the BH camp. I snapped as many pages as I could. The girls attested that she was the leader of the pack.
“Right under Boko Haram’s nose, every night, after the terrorists had ordered them for ‘lights out’, she would organise the girls for prayers and morning devotion the next day.
“I found myself smiling sheepishly at this. This is faith. This is bravery.
“When the medics were done and we were notified that the C-130 would depart for Abuja, N made a signal and all the girls sat up, crossed their legs and bend their heads. N led them in prayers,” he said.
He added that he would later learn that this was their routine when there was danger of the bombs dropped.
“As the C-130 ascended to Abuja to hand them to Mr President, I looked. A pilot who had flown the chopper was sitting on the tarmac, red-eyed.
“It took a soldier to talk to us to leave the tarmac that day. We were just heaving like bereaved men,” he added.