Behind the Beautiful Forevers meets Under an Afghan Sky in this mesmerizing true story of the Nigerian girls taken captive by the terrorist group Boko Haram
In April 2014, the world awoke to the shocking news that the terrorist group Boko Haram had kidnapped nearly 300 school-aged girls and taken them deep into the forests of Nigeria. When veteran journalist Mellissa Fung travelled to Nigeria, she discovered that the scope of the kidnappings had been vastly under-reported. Hundreds—possibly thousands—more girls had been taken against their will and forced to become child brides to soldiers and leaders of Boko Haram. Some of the captives escaped and returned to their villages, many with children in tow. Most of these girls, still children themselves, were shunned by their former friends and family. Other girls have never been seen again.
A former captive herself, Mellissa Fung has great empathy for the kidnapped girls. Taken by Taliban sympathizers in Afghanistan, Fung shared her experience in her number-one-bestselling book, Under an Afghan Sky: A Memoir of Captivity. During several visits to Nigeria over four years, she sat down with the girls and their families and conducted hundreds of hours of interviews, listening to horrific stories of capture, rape and torture, as well as escapes and excommunications. Fung tells the stories of Gambo, Asma’u, Zara and other girls taken by Boko Haram. She also portrays strong women fighting against the terrorist group in their own powerful ways: Aisha the Hunter, who moves stealthily into the forest, taking out Boko Haram with her faithful followers, and Mama Boko Haram, an Igbo woman who knows the fighters and those haunted by their experiences and fights to empty the forests of fighters and captives alike. This is raw, honest and heartbreaking storytelling at its best.