© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
158 Released Boko Haram Abductees Reunite With Families
By Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri
One hundred and fifty-eight people abducted by Boko Haram and released after three weeks have been reunited with their family members in Yobe State.
The abducted women and children had been taken by the insurgents late last year after a raid on a town in Gujba local government, 22 kilometres from the state capital, Damaturu.
But after three weeks in captivity, they were let go in January with no reason given for the being set free, the first ever such peaceful release of abductees by Boko Haram terrorists since the commencement of the insurgency in the North east.
Having been psychologically evaluated and treated, they were ready to be handed over to the families.
Chairman of the state rehabilitation committee, Ahmed Goneri, said 96 of the abductees were children, while 62 were adults, 15 of whom were widowed as a result of the attack on the town.
According to Goneri, the adults would receive two bags of rice, sugar, cartoons of noodles and a bag of salt as well as two sets of wrappers and in addition, the widows would be given N50, 000. Other would get N30, 000 to help them start a new life.
Abdulrahaman Dauda, the man who discovered the released persons, explained how he found them and the state in which they were. “A friend saw them in Kasaisa village and called to tell me. So, I used a truck to convey all of them and handed them over to security agents for further verification,” Dauda stated.
“I thank the security agents and the Yobe state government for all the support. When I saw them they were all out of their senses having gone through severe trauma after being held hostage for three weeks,” he added.
Narrating their experience in the hands of their captors, the victims said they were neither tortured nor starved.
“They did not maltreat us during our captivity for three weeks. We had enough food and drinks all through our stay in captivity. Any time they enter our apartment to preach their ideologies to us, they ask us to avoid looking at them,” Hauwa Mohammed, one of the freed women said. “They will always criticise us as pagans. When they were releasing us, they asked us to prepare and join those pagans in the town. We thank God that we have reunited with our family members after three weeks of being in captivity.”
Another victim, Gambo Mohammed, said that their abductors “provided raw food items for us to cook ourselves. They would give us soaps, perfume and any other basic needs you can think about.”
Mohammed said that the freed people might have been let go by the fundamentalists because they refused to practise their brand of religion.
“We told them we would not practise their style of religion so they agreed to release us saying we should go and join the pagans who have the symbol of Green-White-Green Flag in Nigeria and that we would meet with us one day. We then told them we would join the pagans instead,” he recalled.