A young schoolgirl has shared touching story how she escaped from Boko Haram captivity.
Dorcas Musa, in this interview with DOGARA BITRUS revealed how she managed to escape from her captors.
How were you abducted?
Five of us were abducted on the onion farm in Tulhun Maya village near Baga, where we were weeding, when the insurgents came. When they got to us, they asked us if we were from Baga town and we answered in the affirmative, and they said that our parents and brothers had mobilised against them and as such, they would take us away in retaliation for what our parents had done to them. They took us on motorcycles and rode into the bush; we rode for a long distance in the bush until we got to the river; then, they parked the bikes and used a canoe to paddle through the river to the other side. After crossing over, we trekked for some distance before arriving at a village.
The village was deserted between the borders of Nigeria and Chad. The journey from where they abducted us to the village was rough and tough. It took us almost the whole day to arrive at our destination. We left the farm, where they abducted us from, around 8am, but arrived at the camp in the village around 4pm.
How will you describe the location you were taken to?
The location is a village that was destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents, leading to the villagers deserting the place. The Boko Haram insurgents are the only people occupying the village. There are so many destroyed buildings there; the insurgents use those destroyed houses as camps. They operate freely in that village with their flag hoisted high. When we got to the village, they gave us a room that had only a mat that served as our mattress all through our stay in that camp.
Can you recount your experience while in captivity?
On the first day we arrived in the village, they gave us food but we refused to eat. On the second day, they came to us and met us crying and they then forced us to eat. One of them then said if we refused to eat, they would kill us and immediately, one of them shot in the air to scare us, and they said we should stop crying and eat. That was how we started. For the period of time I was in that camp, I did not cook food; it was some old women, who were kidnapped and whom we met there that were cooking for us.
In that place, there were hundreds of old women and young girls who were kidnapped before us. We were living freely and they treated us with respect, except that we were not free to leave. Whatever thing we asked for was given to us. All we did was sleep, wake up, play and go back to sleep. I got tired of this routine and I decided to engage myself in some chores, so when I woke up in the morning, I would enter the nearby bush and fetch firewood and bring it to the camp. When we first got there was a security man attached to us, but as time went by, the security man left us alone.
When were you abducted and how long did you stay in the camp?
I was abducted sometime in 2015 during the Ramadan and I stayed in the camp for over a year. I escaped in 2016. I was 14 years old when they abducted me, now I am 21 years old. While I was there, I was fortunate that none of them had sex with me. In fact I came out the way I was abducted. My only regret is that I could not continue with my education. I was in JSS1 when I was abducted, and when I came out, I couldn’t go back to school.
How did you escape?
For the period of time I was there, we studied their movement; we were allowed all the freedom to do whatever we wanted to do; so, on this fateful day, I told the four other girls that we should escape and they all agreed. In the morning around 8am we went out as if we were going to fetch firewood; from there, we found our way.
We walked aimlessly in the bush until we got to a village, where we met two persons and we told them our ordeal; the people hid us in their house and told us that the insurgents would come looking for us and they did come searching for us. When they left, the people took us through the bush path and showed us the route until we got to another village. In that village, we explained to them what happened to us and they immediately mobilised and gave us N1,500 as transport fare and took us to the park; we boarded a Gwoza bound car. That was how we escaped from that bush after over a year with the terrorists.
When we got to Gwoza, we were immediately conveyed to Maiduguri and on getting to Maiduguri, my mother, who was living in the CAN IDP camp took me to hospital for a check-up, but I was certified okay and discharged.