For one year and four months, 11 female students have been held hostage in Nigeria after most of their classmates were released, including five Christian teenagers.
In June 2021, Islamic extremist militants kidnapped 70 students from the Federal Government Girls College, Birnin Yauri, in Kebbi state, which is in northeastern Nigeria.
Initially, the Nigerian government made negotiations with the group at which point 59 teenage girls were set free. However, 11 remain in the extremist's custody and why they are still there is unknown.
"These girls have been with their captors for one year and four months – they’ve been abused, tortured, and raped," says rights activist Hauwa Mustapha Babura in a statement. "What have they done to deserve this traumatic experience?"
In her statement released on October 11 for International Day of the Girl, Babura, a muslim, released the names of those held captive. She shared the Christian girls are Elizabeth Ogechi Nwafor, Esther Sunday, Rebecca James, Neempere Daniel and Bilha Musa.
The president of the Parents/Teachers Association of Nigeria, Danjuma Haruna, implored the Nigerian government to take action to bring the girls home.
"The Nigerian government should as a matter of urgency try all it can to rescue our kidnapped children in the hands of terrorists," says Haruna.
A spokesperson with the government stated they were working on securing the girl's release.
According to the World Watch List report last year, Nigeria had the highest number of Christians killed between Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021. Last year 4,650 Christians were murdered in Nigeria alone. The number of kidnapped Christians was also highest in Nigeria, at more than 2,500, up from 990 the previous year.
As of 2022, Nigeria is the seventh hardest country in the world to live as a believer in Jesus Christ.