Parents of Nigeria’s abducted girls cherish keepsakes

Kachalla Bukar, father of Aisha Kachalla, a missing student of Government Girls Science and Technical College, holds a dress of his daughter. AFOLABI SOTUNDE/REUTERS
Kachalla Bukar’s eyes filled with tears when he looked at a blue plastic basket containing his 14 year old daughter’s belongings.

Aisha Kachalla is one of 110 girls who were abducted on February 19 by suspected Boko Haram fighters from her school in Dapchi, a dusty, remote town in the northeast Nigerian state of Yobe.

The basket contains noodles, clothes and other items her parents packed to make her life at boarding school more comfortable.

Now those mundane items are the only connection he has to his daughter while he and other parents wait for news.

“When we went to school she was not among the girls that have been found,” he said, holding up a pink dress that was part of her school uniform.

For the father of six, the box and its contents are keepsakes to be cherished but also a reminder of the moment he learned his second eldest daughter was missing.

“Her colleagues who have returned then gave us our daughter’s school box with her personal belongings,” he said. “That was when we realised our daughter is actually missing.”

The abductions in Dapachi may be one of the biggest since Boko Haram took more than 270 schoolgirls from the northeastern town of Chibok in 2014. That case sparked an online campaign and spurred several governments into action to try and find them.

Many of those girls remain in captivity, though some have escaped or been released in exchange for a ransom.


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