Tuesday 25 October 2016

Horror of captivity revealed as girls freed from Boko Haram


Boko Haram fighters stoned some of their captives to death as Nigeria's military approached to rescue the women, survivors told reporters yesterday.

Several women died when they were crushed mistakenly by a Nigerian military armoured car.

Three were also blown up by a land mine as they were walking to freedom.

These tragic stories come from girls and women brought to a refugee camp here, still finding it hard to believe they are safe, some after more than a year in the hands of Nigeria's homegrown Islamic extremists.

"We just have to give praise to God that we are alive, those of us who have survived," said Lami Musa (27) as she cradled her five-day-old baby girl.

She is among 275 children, girls and women, many bewildered and traumatised, who were getting medical care and being registered yesterday on their first day out of Nigeria's war zone.

Nigeria's military said it has freed nearly 700 Boko Haram captives in the past week. Musa was in the first group to be transported by road over three days to the safety of Malkohi refugee camp on the outskirts of Yola, the capital of northeastern Adamawa state.

Musa had just given birth to her yet-to-be-named baby last week when the crackle of gunfire hinted rescuers might be nearby.


"Boko Haram came and told us they were moving out and said that we should run away with them. But we said no," she explained.

"Then they started stoning us. I held my baby to my stomach and doubled over to protect her."

She and another survivor of the stoning, Salamatu Bulama, said several girls and women were killed, but they do not know exactly how many.

The horrors did not end once the military arrived. A group of women were hiding under some bushes. They could not be seen by the soldiers in an armoured personnel carrier who drove right over them.

"I think those killed there were about 10," said Bulama.

Other women died from stray bullets, she said, naming three she knew.

It does not appear that any of those released are from the group of nearly 300 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram a year ago in a mass abduction that outraged many around the world.

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