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Boko Haram told me Leah Sharibu has been married to a commander, kidnapped victim says

ADARJU Juliet, a Boko Haram kidnapped victim who spent two weeks in captivity has disclosed that her abductors revealed to her that Leah Sharibu, the kidnapped Dapchi schoolgirl has been married off to a Boko Haram Commander.

The 28-year-old trader who was abducted by suspected Boko Haram members on her way to Maiduguri, Borno State in an interview with The Punch Newspaper stated that she was asked to renounce her Christian religion or be another Leah Sharibu.

She said, “they said she is alive (Leah Sharibu) and that she was married to their commander.”

Leah Sharibu was the sole Christian among 110 schoolgirls abducted by Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP) from their school in Dapchi, Yobe state on 19 February 2018.

While her surviving classmates returned a month later following government negotiations, she was denied her freedom for refusing to convert as a precondition for her release.

Also in a tweet on January 26, Ahmad Salkida, a journalist with access to the insurgents, said Sharibu is now a mother, but that he has no knowledge of the baby gender.

“Why, I wonder, do we pretend that leaving Leah behind won’t result in pregnancy? Since the terror group announced condemning her to slavery, is there any step or collective focus on preventing similar occurrences? She’s a mother, but I don’t know about the gender of the baby,” Salkida had tweeted.

Adarju had in the interview disclose that she was abducted in January 2020 on her way to Maiduguri along Damaturu road.

“Early in January, 2020, my mother fell ill. So, my elder sister told me to bring her to Maiduguri for treatment. On our way to Maiduguri, along Damaturu road, we heard gunshots. The people who fired the shots came out with their faces covered and stopped us.

“Three of us in the vehicle were women. The armed men asked for our names and religion. Those of us who identified ourselves as Christians were separated and I was the only lady among them. After that, they collected all we had and told our driver to leave with my mother because they would take me away.”

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On who abducted her, Adargu said, some of them were Boko Haram members while some were a group of kidnappers operating from the bush and working with Boko Haram.

“The insurgents used to come to our location to ask the kidnappers the number of victims they had in their custody. They collected money from the kidnappers any time they came, and if the victim is a woman, they took her away.”

“They told me to choose between denying my faith so as to regain my freedom or they would call a Boko Haram member to take me to Sambisa forest. I wept and told them I would not deny my faith. I cried throughout that day because my mother was sick and didn’t know anywhere in Maiduguri.”

She further disclosed that 1.5 million was paid by her guardian in securing her release.

“They told me to give them the phone number of any of my guardians so that they would inform my family that I had been kidnapped. But I told them that my dad is late and I didn’t have anyone; it is my pastor that has been a father to me.”

“Truly, my dad died when I was three years old. They collected my pastor’s number and told him that his daughter had been kidnapped. They told him that they had not concluded on whether they would kill me, give me away to the Boko Haram insurgents or collect a ransom. After calling the family of a victim, they remove the SIM card and discard it.”

“When they saw that I was crying because I was worried about my mother’s whereabouts, they decided not to give me away to the Boko Haram insurgents. But they argued among themselves on this before reaching a conclusion to collect a ransom for my release.”

“The pastor tried his best, with the help of other Christians, to raise N1.5m. They told him to bring the N1.5m because they were under pressure from Boko Haram to either release me or kill me. They told the pastor how to deliver the money to them. They later dumped me somewhere and told me to find my way from there.”

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