The kidnapping of 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by separatist group Boko Haram has left many parents in Chibok, childless. According to Associated Press, at least 11 parents have died since the kidnapping three months ago.
Community leader Pogu Bitrus said heart failure and high blood pressure due to the trauma from the abductions, have played roles in the recent deaths. Several more fathers were killed during militant attacks. “One father of two of the girls kidnapped just went into a kind of coma and kept repeating the names of his daughters, until life left him,” said Bitrus.
The militant takeover of Chibok hasn’t been helping the already disasterous situation as Boko Haram is now reportedly attacking villages in all of the surrounding towns causing survivors to flee to Chibok, which is currently cut off from the rest of Nigeria due to the frequent attacks and unsafe environment. Bitrus made it clear that the swelling population is depleting the already minute resources of the community. “There are families that are putting up four and five other families,” said Bitrus. “There is famine looming.”
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan met with the parents of the kidnapped schoolgirls and assured them that his government and military are doing everything they can to get them back home. Although the presidential committee investigating the orignal kidnapping states that the girls are still missing, some of the young women who have escaped, are recovering with the help of counseling. An anonymous health worker informed AP of the grief and rape counseling programs that are being offered under USAID.