Insurgents in the North East Region of Nigeria, otherwise called Boko Haram, have in the last 11 years used several horrors to terrorise people including women and children.
Many people abducted by the terror groups have not been accounted for, while most of the young girls and women who married the fighters against their will have given birth to children and would not want to leave them behind.
Recently, some abducted girls declined to leave their husbands even after government and other organisations had secured their freedom.
In her 50s, Hajja Falmata (not real name), who lives in Bama, Borno State, was abducted with her two male children allegedly by the Boko Haram terrorists and taken to a forest where they spent seven months.
“We were on our way to Pulka but before we could reach our destination, the armed men stopped us and demanded that we follow them to their land and we had to obey.
“We spent the whole day walking in the bush before we crossed the border to a place I suspected to be in Cameroon, where we were kept in captivity.”
Most of the people in the camp seemed to have paid allegiance to the leaders who determine every aspect of life.
They tried offenders and handed down judgment including death sentences.
“People who were sentenced to death for one offense or the other were executed publicly.
“I saw a lot of men and women being killed.
“My two children were taken away from me because they were all boys and they were not allowed to see me,” she said.
But what shocked her most was when she was asked to prepare to marry one of her captors.
She said, “Barely four months in captivity, we were assembled and addressed by the leaders during which we were told to prepare for marriages.
“I was confused because I was already married with children.
“I was confused and started crying but I was comforted by another woman who told me that the best option was to remain calm and ask God for assistance.
“I agreed and started praying.”
When the time came for each woman to be united to a male partner, Falmata said she was lucky to have been married off to the Deputy Amir (leader) of the group.
“We stayed as husband and wife for three months and I was very loyal and submissive to him but I kept praying for a way out.
“He trusted me as I was very kind.”
The Amir was said to be very influential and commanded much respect among his followers.
Falmata said she was rather worried about her kids due to lack of information about them.
She politely asked her new husband the condition in which her kids were living and he agreed to find out, she stated.
“I waited for the information about the kids and after some days, he confirmed that they were doing well,” she said.
Incidentally, the Amir had some relatives in Gwoza town and he kept in touch with them, she revealed.
“One day, he told me that his sister in Gwoza had given birth to a baby and felt unwell and that he wanted me to go and see her and spend at least two days there.
“I agreed but requested to go with a friend- the woman who advised me to be prayerful rather than fearful,” she said.
The man accepted to allow the two women to travel to Gwoza.
Falmata and her friend, who is from Madagali, Adamawa State, actually stayed with the nursing mother for a day before they decided to go back to their respective towns and not to return to the terrorists’ camp.
“I know my children are missing me but I always pray to reunite with them,” she said.
Meanwhile, Falmata’s real husband, Mallam Ali, said he had visited several displaced persons’ camps in search of his wife and children after their abduction.
He said he believed that ‘God’ would someday free the children from were they were held.’