On April 14, 2014, 276 girls from the Chibok Secondary School in northern Nigeria were kidnapped by Boko Haram, the world's deadliest terrorist group. Most were never heard from again. Acclaimed Nigerian novelist Helon Habila, who grew up in northern Nigeria, returned to Chibok and gained intimate access to the families of the kidnapped to offer a devastating account of this tragedy that stunned the world. With compassion and deep understanding of historical context, Habila tells the stories of the girls and the anguish of their parents; chronicles the rise of Boko Haram and the Nigerian government's inept response; and captures the indifference of the media and the international community whose attention has moved on. Employing a fiction writer's sensibility and a journalist's curiosity, The Chibok Girls provides poignant portraits of everyday Nigerians whose lives have been transformed by extremist forces. Habila illuminates the long history of colonialism--and unmasks cultural and religious dynamics--that gave rise to the conflicts that have ravaged the region to this day.

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Critic Reviews (10)

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  1. Positive: 9 Out of 10
  1. Mixed: 1 Out of 10
  1. Negative: 0 Out of 10
Critical Consensus: Generally favorable.

The East African

14 May 2017
On April 14, 2017, the world marked the third anniversary of the kidnapping of 276 adolescent schools girls in Chibok, northern Nigeria, by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The parents of the missing girls, since then known as the Chibok girls ...

The Guardian

28 Apr 2017
In this brief yet powerful book, novelist Helon Habila returns to Nigeria, the country of his birth, to explore the kidnapping in April 2014 of 276 girls from a secondary school in Chibok, in the north-eastern state of Borno. Although 21 girls were r ...

The Atlantic

13 Jan 2017
On april 14, 2014, Boko Haram terrorists abducted 276 girls from a secondary school in the mostly Christian town of Chibok, in northeast-ern Nigeria. The event spawned the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, and became the symbol of the government’s faile ...

Washington Post

05 Jan 2017
The release of nearly two dozen Nigerian girls last fall seemed a rare flash of good news in the saga of the 2014 Boko Haram kidnappings, when 276 schoolgirls were snatched from the town of Chibok by the Islamic terrorist group. But after the 21 girl ...

Financial Times

23 Dec 2016
In The Chibok Girls, novelist and poet Helon Habila returns to his native northern Nigeria to report from the remote town where 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped in 2014 by Boko Haram — an extremist organisation whose name translates to “western edu ...


19 Dec 2016
In 2016, Nigeria’s Chibok girls have continued to dominate the news from Nigeria. In October 2016, Boko Haram released 21 girls. The NY Times reported that another 83 girls may get released soon. The NYC newspaper also says that 100 girls (of t ...

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December 5, 2016


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