2 Women Who Escaped Boko Haram Make Powerful Plea To All Americans

"There are thousands of other children that have no voice that are abducted in the forests. Nobody is talking of them."

The 2014 abduction of nearly 300 students in the Nigerian village of Chibok by militant group Boko Haram caught the attention of the world. 

Almost four years later, Boko Haram continues to engage in terrorist acts, and last month kidnapped another 110 girls from a boarding school. They released many of the girls to their families this week, with the demand that they never return to school.


Of the students that were originally kidnapped in 2014, more than 50 escaped and 100 were returned after a ransom of $4 million was paid by the government of Nigeria. Two of the women who escaped, Ya KaKa and Hauwa, recently sat down with PBS NewsHour to discuss what they went through while being held by Boko Haram and urge the rest of the world — and the United States especially — to help others who have been subjected to the same fate they were fortunate enough to escape from. 

Both Ya KaKa and Hauwa's accounts of their abductions are harrowing. Each woman was taken while a teenager and they were both subjected to repeated rape and beatings at the hands of the captors. Each was also married off to at least one of the men who kidnapped them. The ladies both told NewsHour correspondent Judy Woodruff of the horrors they endured.

Both were helped by Too Young To Wed, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the rights of young girls across the world and ending the tradition of child marriage. The young women credit the nonprofit with aiding them after their escapes.  They were brought to the U.S. by the organization to advocate for those still being held captive by Boko Haram.

When asked by Woodruff what Americans should know about the future they want, Hauwa asked that the country aid in helping to bring all of the children who have been kidnapped back home. 

"I am pleading with the people of America and the government to please assist us," she told the reporter. "There are thousands of other children that have no voice that are abducted in the forests. Nobody is talking of them. Let the U.S. government put pressure where necessary. The government and all the relevant agencies should see that a lot of efforts will be put towards recovering these people. Put them in schools, so that they can save my generation."

Lastly, Woodruff asked the women how they saw their own futures. Both ladies both referenced how important it was that they are now receiving a Western education and how much of a difference that made in their lives.

"But, at the same time, I request that other children should live like me or even better than me," Hauwa told Woodruff. "Let the entire world devise various means of recovering all the kidnapped children, send them to school, and let them develop once more a hope in their lives."

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