Mary Dauda and Hauwa Joseph, kidnapped as teenagers from the GGSS Chibok in Borno in 2014, have revealed how they staged an escape in Sambisa Forest, eight years after being kidnapped by Boko Haram insurgents.
Gazuwa camp is the headquarters of the Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād, a Boko Haram faction formerly known as Gabchari, Mantari and Mallum Masari, located about nine kilometres to Bama local government area of Borno.
They disclosed this on Tuesday in Maiduguri during a news conference at the Command and Control Centre Maimalari Cantonment.
Marry Dauda, who recounted her experience in the hands of the insurgents, recalled she was forcibly married to one of the insurgents after she was abducted at the age of 18 years.
Ms Dauda said she walked through the forest for many days before she escaped. Ms Dauda said the extremist group had threatened before the escape that she would be hunted down and killed if she deserted.
“I took an excuse from Malam Ahmed that I will be visiting my relative from Chibok in the town of Ngoshe and he gave me one week. That is when I began my journey for freedom. I left Sabil Huda, popularly known as the camp of Abubakar Shekau and proceeded towards Njimiya and Parisu, where I met some of the Mujahideens,” explained Ms Dauda. “They asked where I was going and I told them I was given permission to visit my sister in Ngoshe.”
She added, “I finally arrived at Gava village in Gwoza, after walking for many hours through the deadly forest under harsh conditions. I asked some people to direct me to the home of a daughter of Chibok. After meeting her, I told her of my plans to return home. She told me she had wanted to come with me but her husband placed her on strict surveillance for attempting to run. I then left her and proceeded toward Ngoshe town.”
On my way, she met an old man who promised to help her escape.
“At about 8:00 p.m., he took me to Ngoshe town and told me to pass the night on the outskirts of the town and proceed the next morning. When the day broke, I took myself to some soldiers where I was rescued with my baby,” she said.
Also narrating her experience, Hauwa Joseph said she was forcibly married to Amir Abbah, a commander of Boko Haram (Munzul), at Gazuwa camp who was later killed during an encounter with the Nigerian military.
Ms Joseph stated that she escaped from the camp of the terrorists when the Nigerian troops bombarded the area on June 12. According to her, as people were running in the same direction where the Boko Haram insurgents hid women and children, she took a separate route to escape.
She said on her way, she met with some of the insurgents who asked her where she was going, but she tricked them and told them that she was following some women to hide in the nearby forest.
“I slept under the tree with my child, then proceeded the next day until I arrived at the road where I approached a military checkpoint. Initially, they thought I was a suicide bomber, but when I explained myself, they took me along with them,” Ms Joseph narrated.
Boko Haram kidnapped 276 female students, aged between 16 and 18 from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok in April 2014.
Over 100 of the girls were still missing as of April 14, 2021, seven years after the initial kidnapping.