The first of Nigeria's kidnapped "Chibok girls" to make it home after being released by her Islamic extremist captors spent a tortured night, tossing and turning and screaming "They will kill me! They will kill me!"
So says the Rev. Enoch Mark, who stayed up through Thursday night with the traumatized young woman.
She appears to be the daughter of a Chadian carpenter who moved to the town of Chibok many years ago, according to interviews by the Associated Press, and is the first of 219 girls held in captivity for more than five months to be released and to find her way home.
Some 276 female students were abducted by Nigeria's Islamic militant Boko Haram fighters from the Government Secondary School in Chibok, where they had gathered to write final examinations in the early hours of April 15. Fifty-seven escaped by themselves that night or the following day – some by jumping from the open-backed trucks that transported them and clinging to branches of low-hanging trees.
Hundreds of girls, women and boys have been kidnapped by Boko Haram fighters in the past year, but the abduction of the Chibok girls grabbed people's sympathy and inspired a worldwide campaign for their freedom.
This first appearance of a Chibok abductee could inspire hope, said Father Mark, a Church of the Brethren pastor. The vice-principal of the Chibok school is now trying to get to a northeastern Nigeria military hospital to positively identify the young woman.
She said she was left in the bush on Sept. 19 and wandered around disoriented for four days until she stumbled on a village where she was taken in, Father ark said. She also told him that other kidnapped girls have been "thrown into the bush" when their captors considered them too ill and a liability. No others have made it home yet.