By Eric Cassidy
On Wednesday, March 21 at 2 a.m., the extremist organization Boko Haram returned 104 kidnapped Nigerian school girls to their families.
The terror cell had previously taken a total of 110 young women from the town of Dapchi, Nigeria last month.
Some of the girls said they were treated decently in the camps and were rewarded when they read the Quran. The girls were taken from their boarding school following issues with religious and educational persecution for the past 8 years.
“Don’t ever put your daughters in school again,” was the message the girls were released with.
“It’s screwed up that these women were taken for the sole reason of trying to get an education.” said sophomore Danielle Veronie.
Several of the girls interviewed by The Associated Press said they had been traveling for days before the convoy of vehicles arrived in the center of the town of Dapchi.
Residents who had fled upon hearing that Boko Haram was heading their way watched from hiding as dozens of girls descended from the vehicles apparently unharmed.
“We were freed because we are Muslim girls and they didn’t want us to suffer. That is why they released us,” said Khadija Grema, one of the freed girls who said a Christian classmate remained captive.
The sister of one of the girls fainted Wednesday upon hearing that her sibling was not among those freed.
The girls were originally abducted on Feb. 19 and the whereabouts of the other girls are still being investigated.
“It is sad that people in our world have to live in fear due to their differences in beliefs. I hope that this group is brought down before they can devastate another community,” said senior Chris Peterman.
Their story is similar to that of the 276 girls taken from the town of Chibok, Nigeria in April 2014.
To this day, nearly four years later, close to 100 of the girls are still reported missing.
“I think it is awful that in this day and age there are still terrorist organizations that violently discourage the idea of women learning,” said senior Shawn Lee. “This also hurts the image of the Islamic faith, which will only further harm relations between the West and the Middle East.”
The returned girls have been transported to a nearby hospital where they are being treated.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.