SD refugee family speaks about daughter's abduction in Nigeria

SAN DIEGO - A Nigerian refugee family who now resides in San Diego spoke to 10News this week about the abduction of their daughter by the same terror group that kidnapped hundreds of girls in the African nation last month.

In January 2013, three-year-old Pelumi Akins was in class with 19 other girls at a school in Nigeria when she was abducted.

“Some guys came in with guns and went with children,” her father Shayi Akins told 10News Thursday.  

It's been 16 months, and the family has not seen or heard from their little girl since.

“My heart was broken,” Akins said. “I was like, why is this happening?”

Akins called his wife Hannah, who had already received the same news.

“Your baby was taken, and it was like heaven came down that day,” Hannah said.  
Hannah did not want to show her face because she still has family in Nigeria and fears for their safety.  At first, she was in complete denial.

“My baby has not been kidnapped. She is so small, she is innocent. She doesn't know anything.”

On April 14 and 15, Boko Harem -- the same terror group responsible for Pelumi’s abduction -- kidnapped another 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria. However, this time the abductions made headlines around the world because so many children had been taken at one time.

The group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, has said he will sell the girls as sex slaves.

“I was heartbroken that my little daughter would be part of this all,” Shayi said. “Is she alive or is she dead?”

Shayi points out that the Boko Haram has been terrorizing the region for several years. According to Shayi, in 2008 Boko Haram murdered his parents, who were Christian evangelists.

“When I got there, I found them being beheaded,” Shayi said.  

Now, as they wait to hear if a judge will grant them political asylum, the couple is holding out hope for their little girl.

“I know she is still alive, and I know I will see her someday,” Shayi said.  

The couple's political asylum hearing is next month.

Meanwhile, several nations have stepped up to offer Nigeria help in finding the kidnapped girls, including the U.S., China, France and England.

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