Saturday, June 04, 2016

"Wives" of Boko Haram

"All those women who lived with Boko Haram are also Boko Haram soldiers. The military should not make the mistake of releasing them."
"If they can't execute them, they should figure out what to do with them."
Hazida Ali, Nigerian refugee camp

"I didn't like him. He told me to have his baby, then I'll forget about my other husband [murdered by Boko Haram]."
"Sometimes they look at me in that way, but it's not the baby's fault. If I didn't have her, I'd have no children [left] at all."
Hafsat Ibrahim, Dalori refugee camp, Nigeria
A Nigerian woman who was previously under Boko Haram captivity carries her child while lying in bed.

Perhaps it is not fair to judge a culture as primitive when it views victims as enemies and wishes to destroy them rather than welcome them back from captivity as people to be nurtured back to health within their communities. On the other hand, young girls who have been abducted, have endured dreadful ordeals of repeatedly being raped, being forced to live among Islamist terrorists who have embarked on sprees of slaughter, of burning down villages, of looting, of abducting and raping, now suffer the humiliation, loss of dignity and fear instilled by the hostility of former villagers.

These are, of course, all people who have fled the desperately vicious depredations of Nigeria's jihadist groups taking inspiration from the caliphate of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Boko Haram celebrates the same freedom to instill fear in the populace as they rampage into villages, killing most of the men and boys refusing to join them. They take the women with them to have them cook for the terrorists and train them as suicide bombers.

Other women become "wives" in terrorist Boko Haram "marriages" that result in children being borne by the helpless women. It is their status as former 'wives' that provokes outrage by others who have managed to escape, through sheer good fortune, being taken captive by the terrorists. They view all those unfortunate enough to have been abducted, as having been tainted and corrupted by Boko Haram, becoming one themselves among them; the enemy.

If they had their way vengeance would be struck against girls of 13 and 14 and 15 who have been repeatedly raped, who manage somehow to return to their tribal villages, pregnant, only to discover they are loathed where they were once loved. One woman described Boko Haram invading her village, killing her husband and abducting her and her four-year-old daughter, into the jihadists' stronghold of a vast forest.

She gave birth to a child, as the "wife" of a Boko Haram jihadi, but then he fled when the Nigerian military was closing in, and he took with him her little girl. Now her 15-month-old baby faces the hatred of people in the refugee camp, and so does she; she has become a social outcast. And her baby, the result of misery and rape, is all she has left in her world.

Other young girls offer the fiction that the father of their child had been killed by Boko Haram, not that a Boko Haram jihadist had fathered the child they keep close to them, strapped to their young backs. "If they knew my baby was from an insurgent, they wouldn't allow us to stay" in the refugee camp, explained Zara.

The deep suspicion raging against helpless victims forced to live among the terrorist group though they were hostages and tormented daily, has resulted in their torment following them even as they broke free of Boko Haram. Northeastern Nigeria represents a festering wound of privation, fear and hatred. Dozens of women and girls were used by Boko Haram as suicide bombers.

Two women from #Bringbackourgirls campaign hug each other in Nigeria.
Nigerians have been called to embrace all former Boko Haram captives.

Hundreds of people have died in attacks that have taken place on markets and schools, and refugee camps. Everyone views people with any links however tentative as victims, with suspicion, and that suspicion is returned by the victims, with a sense of dread and foreboding. Thousands of captives freed by the military have streamed into camps only to discover their freedom comes with the price of detestation by those who were spared abduction.

Labels: , , , ,

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Follow @rheytah Tweet