A number of the fathers of the over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by terror group Boko Haram from Chibok, Nigeria, have spoken out about the continued dangers their families face on a daily basis, and shared their pain of not knowing what has happened to their daughters.
Kristin Wright, director of advocacy for relief group Open Doors USA, told The Christian Post in a phone interview on Wednesday that she was able to meet with 10 of the Chibok fathers during a recent trip to Nigeria. She revealed that despite the grim situation their families find themselves in, the fathers are refusing to give up hope that one day their daughters will return to them.
"One of the fathers, when asked, 'Where do you think your daughter might be?' he said, 'She is the hands of God.' It was a sentiment that was echoed by all of the parents that I met with. They are not going to think about any other reality," Wright told CP.
The Christian schoolgirls were kidnapped in April 2014 during a Boko Haram raid on Chibok, and there have been reports that many of them have since been married off to jihadists.
The Nigerian military has said it is doing everything possible to find them and reunite them with their families, but so far the parents have little to no information on the fate of their daughters.
Wright said that despite the media attention on Chibok, the region remains under heavy threat by the Islamic militants.
"In Chibok, the situation has only gotten worse. You would think that with the media spotlight on the issue, things would have improved in this area, but unfortunately the security issues are still very intense. These fathers, they see security issues on a daily basis, they are trying to protect their own families from the onslaught of Boko Haram," she continued.
Some of these men even reportedly sneak out at night to be the first line of defense against Boko Haram, and to protect their families.
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"There is a constant fear that Boko Haram will attack again," the Open Doors advocacy director said.
"The challenge to international organizations is that Chibok is incredibly dangerous to reach. All the roads that are leading to Chibok, it is incredibly risky to drive on those roads because of Boko Haram."
The Chibok girls are only a fraction of the many other women and girls Boko Haram has kidnapped throughout Nigeria. The militant group, which has been launching attacks since 2009 and has killed close to 20,000 people, has aligned itself with the Islamic State terror group in Iraq and Syria, and has adapted many of its practices.