Woman held by Boko Haram for three years narrates ordeal

Boko Haram militants [Photo: Independent.ie]
Boko Haram militants [Photo: Independent.ie]

Aisha Bukar, a 25-year-old housewife and mother of five on Monday narrated their ordeal in the hands of Boko-Haram insurgents, saying she, her husband, mother-in-law and children, fed on “weeds” to survive.

Mrs. Bukar, one of the captives of the insurgents, escaped from their enclave after the military bombed Boko Haram’s hideout in Sambisa Forest recently.

Mrs. Bukar told the News Agency of Nigeria that she escaped from the camp with her husband, mother in-law and the five children.

Recounting her ordeal, she said members of her family were incarcerated for about three years by the insurgents in the Sambisa forest.

She said the insurgents abducted them while working on a farm at Talala village in Damboa local government area of Borno.

She said they were denied food and drugs, following the refusal of her husband to fight for their group.

“We were working in the farm when the insurgents abducted me, my husband, children and mother in-law. They took us deep into Sambisa Forest, where we stayed for about three years.

“They asked my husband to take up arms and fight for them, a request he declined; they became infuriated and labeled him as stubborn; to break his will, they denied us food and drugs.

“We barely survived on leaves and weeds; we also relied on herbs when sick; they distributed food only to their fighters and those who submit to their demands,” she said.

Mrs. Bukar said the insurgents meted out inhuman treatments and abuses on women and children under their captivity.

She revealed that the insurgents compelled captives, including women and children, to be attending preaching and lecture sessions.

“My husband was flogged on many occasions over his persistent absenteeism at the lecture sessions. His back is covered with ugly scars of injuries sustained from merciless beating by the insurgents.

“We suffered various ailments due to lack of food and drugs; my children are suffering from undernourishment and skin diseases.

“My sick husband is now at a military facility but they promised to release him after investigations,” she said.

Mrs. Bukar claimed that hundreds of women and children incarcerated in the camp were starved to death, while many others died of cruelty in the hands of the insurgents.

She also revealed that hundreds of other captives escaped from the camp during the military air strike, as most of the insurgents were killed or wounded.

She explained that they trekked for about three days before they reached Buni-Gari village in Gujba local government area of Yobe State.

She added that the military had assisted in re-uniting her family with their relatives in Maiduguri.

Also commenting, Mustapha Bulin, the escapee’s father in-law, commended the military for the successes recorded in the counter-insurgency campaign.

Mr. Bulin, who spoke in tears, said he had lost hope of reuniting with members of his family after they were abducted by the insurgents.

“The insurgents abducted my elder sister together with her son, wife and children.

“My sister is about 80-years- old; it is disheartening to see that the insurgents subjected the old lady and children to all sort of cruelty and inhuman treatments,” he said.



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  • Frank Bassey

    Pity! That is tragedy your leaders brought upon you.

    • Oladele

      what a cruel statement? May God have mercy on your soul.

      • Remi


        What do you expect from such people. The woman said they had
        been in captivity for three years, implying
        that she and her family had been captured, like the Chibok girls, since the
        time of Jonathan. Jonathan, rather than asking pointed questions from his
        commanders, and holding them responsible, kept on taking excuses upon excuses
        from them, until the BH problem festered this much. Recall that at a time, the home
        town in Adamawa State of the head of all of Nigeria’s armed forces, was
        captured and it was reported that his beautiful country home was requisitioned
        by Boko Haram (BH) as their headquarters and their flag flying from atop it;
        yet, the import of this tragedy was lost on the man and he did not see anything
        to be sober or ashamed of, in the tragedy that befell him. Thank God
        for exposures on Dasukigate, we now know why the commander-in-chief and his
        commanders could not command and safeguard the people and territory entrusted
        to their care. Yet, his countrymen now have the audacity to come here to spout nonsense.
        What an incompetent, unfeeling and uncaring
        lot; and what a shame to be compatriots with them!

        • 0tile

          Remi boy,
          Do you think that Jonathan is supervising the copious rapes going on in the IDPs since Buhari left for medical treatment in May?

          • Remi


            Absolutely not, I would reply. However, your question begs
            the issue. Recall that Oladele, whom I was responding to, was in turn
            responding to Frank. Frank blamed the woman and her family’s woes on “their {northern}
            leaders” and I tried to point out, in my response to Oladele, that the woman was actually kidnapped during the time of Jonathan, who at that time
            had the powers to stem, if not defeat this insurgency, if only he had been
            firmer with his commanders and security chiefs and driven them hard for results.

            Secondly, we were not talking about the current epidemic of
            rape in the IDP camps today, which actually is a societal & police matter, but
            the ordeal of a family under BH captivity, and whose responsibility it was to prevent it.

            Thirdly, nowhere in my post have I exculpated Buhari of the
            incompetent handling of the BH
            insurgency and its aftermath. In fact in another post, I observed about the quality of tactical and
            strategic leadership of the army over the years, as follows:… “…Apparently, we
            have an army that is either playing
            tricks or is incompetently led , or both,
            and their Commanders-in-Chief have allowed them to get away with it, by
            not asking probing and pointed questions about their operations…“.


  • 0tile

    This story is contrary to eye witnesses and personal experiences of other women who came out of the captured territories. As a matter of fact many of them prefer to go back behind the enemy line than endure hardship in huger-ravaged Buhari’s North East. Haven’t we seen the photos of young ladies out of Imam Shakau’s own territory? Many of the girls are bubbling with health and beauty. We still got their pictures on line, non of them suffered scars or sunken eyes. Who did not see the ones that met Imam Buhari in Abuja, were they not amiable? I don’t know why this woman is now telling us a story from the pit of hell. How did they survive on grass for 3 donkey years? The devil is a lair. On the contrary we believe that those living in Shekau liberated Islamic Republic are better off than those barley surviving in Buhari’s own side of the NE.