Victims recount ordeals
The clock kept ticking for 17-yearold Nadia to take a decision that will most probably determine if she lives or dies. She could either accept the amorous adventure of one of the Boko Haram kingpins or be forced to undertake a deadly mission – as a suicide bomber. Boko Haram had kidnapped her alongside other female victims, but she was cherry picked for a second wife by an ugly, dirty bearded insurgent.
The moment was so traumatizing!
“He came that night and tried to rape me,” she said, her diamanté earrings glinting through her pale blue hijab.
“We wrestled seriously. I thought, this is a life-or-death situation he probably has an STD which would kill me anyway, so I might as well die honourably.
I used all my strength to fight him, and he was so angry when he couldn’t succeed in raping me. In the morning he went out and called his boys and told them to take me out and flog me.” According to Ruth Maclean, in her report published by theguardian.co.uk, Nadia remained resolute not to allow the Commander have his way, despite being aware her boldness could lead to her early death.
However, her long procrastination came to a head three months later when Nadia woke up in the morning only to see her waist had been strapped with explosives – she had been pressganged into undertaking a suicide mission.
The Commander’s men put her and two others on a motorcycle which dropped them at Gamboro, a town in Borno State.
They were asked to blow themselves up in a big crowd if possible. But the hatred, anger and disgust Nadia had for the Boko Haram was deep prompted by when in her presence they snatched and shot his father in their community in Borno.
Nadia narrated how the girls had decided amongst themselves that should they ever be forced to carry out any suicide bombings they would simply hand themselves over to the Joint Task Force without detonating the bombs. And on this occasion that is exactly what they did, as they got near they shouted to the JTF operatives: “We are carrying bombs, we were forced to.
We shouted this while lifting our veils.”
For Odion Imatidon, his escape from the deadly Boko Haram invasion in their local Community in Damaturu, Yobe State was predestined. The young man fled unhurt after his parents were killed in the attack that left their village home burnt to ashes.
The attack led to loss of valuable items including his certificates.
“My Mother died and my sister too, I was aimless, homeless and wandering.” Imatidon escaped Nigeria into an African country on transit to Italy where he finally settled seeking political asylum and refugee status.
According to another report published by the New York-based Human Right Watch, in 2014, who spoke to well over 47 witnesses and victims who managed to escape the Sambisa forest of death, “their tale was that of rape, forced marriage and forced participation in Boko Haram’s crimes against humanity.” A teenage victim, (names withheld) told how she was forced into marrying an insurgent after repeatedly being raped each night. “
He soon began to threaten me with a knife to have sex with him, and when I refused, he brought out his gun, warning that he would kill me if I shouted.
The huge man raped me every night.” Another victim, a19-year-old woman, said she was ordered to kill a Nigerian soldier she was forced to lure into a trap set by the militant group.
“When they (Nigerian troops) followed me for a short distance, the insurgents swooped on them. They slit the throats of four men as they shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’, then I was handed a knife to kill the last man. I was shaken with horror and couldn’t do it.
The camp leader’s wife took the knife and killed him.” The multiple tales underscore the heinous crimes against humanity and unnatural killing project embarked by the insurgents in the country.