Sunday, May 8, 2016

Escape from Boko Haram

From the New York Times:
A few miles down the road, Christiana Joel, 14, said she was at church for a children’s day in April 2015 when Boko Haram fighters attacked her village of Lassa, in Borno State. Her father hustled her and her eight brothers and sisters back to their house, told them to leave only when it started looking really bad, grabbed his gun and took off to fight the Boko Haram militants. When the children eventually bolted from their house, Christiana’s oldest brother, Levi, disappeared in the melee. She has not seen him since, and seemed overcome when she spoke of him. She said he was her favorite brother.

Maria Saidi, 26, kept prisoner by Boko Haram for more than a year outside Maiduguri, said she was whipped — 20 lashes — the first time she tried to escape. Then, four months ago, after more than a year with Boko Haram, she said she was forcibly married to a fighter, coincidentally one with her same last name of Saidi. Early the next day, while her new husband was doing his morning prayers, she bolted. Four months later, she still feels the bruises from the whipping.

But escape doesn’t necessarily bring solace.

Hussaina Jidda, 26, ran away from her village of Madagali in February when Boko Haram came. She eventually made it, with her baby, to Yola. Her four nieces were not so lucky. They were all kidnapped. Three of them remain missing.

One of them got away after two months with Boko Haram, during which she said she was forcibly married, raped and impregnated. The woman, Bilkisu Jidda, 20, returned to Madagali after running away into the bush at night. Her mother, the wife of Mrs. Jidda’s brother, accepted her back again.

Most of the rest of the village did not. (Read more.)

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