On the second anniversary of her daughter’s kidnapping by terror group Boko Haram, a Nigerian mother penned a letter assuring the missing teen that God is protecting her.
Four months later, Maida Yakubu was featured in a new Boko Haram video showing some of the hostage Chibok schoolgirls.
In the video released last weekend, a man in camouflage garb held a microphone up to Maida, who was shrouded in a chador with a backdrop of other girls similarly draped in the Islamic covering. The misery on the girls’ faces is evident; one holds a baby.
Maida asked parents to “be patient and beg the government to release their people, so that we will also be released.”
A masked gunman in the video demanded that Boko Haram members held by the government be released “immediately.” He claimed “some of the girls are dead as a result of airstrikes by infidels,” and promised a video showing this. Nigeria’s defense ministry disputed the claim, emphasizing they use precision weapons.
“As long as the government holds our people, we will never release these girls – that is our message. If you think you have the power to come and rescue them, go ahead and try,” he said. “We have not sent anyone to negotiate with the government on our behalf over these girls.”
Boko Haram claimed 40 of the girls had been wed to jihadists.
In April 2014, 276 girls were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria. A few dozen have escaped. Shekau has admitted in the past that some of the Christian girls seized have not converted to Islam despite pressure from their captors.
The Bring Back Our Girls campaign has confirmed it’s the Chibok girls in the new video. Maida’s parents, Kanu and Esther, recognized their daughter’s voice right away.
Earlier this summer, Esther visited the United States as the guest of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, a Virginia-based religious freedom advocacy organization. Former Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), who has tirelessly advocated for religious groups persecuted by Islamist terrorists, is a distinguished senior fellow at the Wilberforce Initiative.
Esther’s April letter to her daughter reflects how the family is leaning on faith to get through this horror.
“I know that the angel of the Lord Almighty is with you, and He will continue to be with you wherever you are,” Esther said.
“You don’t have any idea of the plans I have been planning for you all this while,” the mother continued. “Since from birth, I’ve been planning for you, your life, your education, your health, before you were kidnapped. I wanted you to go to university, because I’ve never been there. I planned that for you.”
Esther expressed hope that one day she will see her daughter again, “and my happiness, my joy, my life, will be complete with you.”
“I want you to ask the Lord Almighty to be with you, to guide you, and to protect you wherever you are. Your guardian angel is there with you, and the Lord is there with you, and He will see you through.”
Four months after that open letter, that prayer to see her daughter again, Esther received proof of life in the latest Boko Haram video.
“All the girls that have been rescued, have rescued themselves,” Esther bitterly noted after watching the video. “Not any government has rescued them, not any army has rescued them.”