Armed ViolenceNews

17 Girls Abducted To Serve As Cooks For Terrorists In Zamfara

On Aug. 2, seven girls were kidnapped in Bukuyum local government, northwestern Nigeria, to join ten others in Gando forest where a terrorist camp is located. They are being used as cooks for the terror group, HumAngle reports.

When Balarabe Umaru*, 32, was abducted on Aug. 2, alongside seven teenage girls from Masa village, he thought all hope had been lost. 

During the attack, the terror gang killed five farmers, including Abubakar Dandi (Abun Kebbe) and Saadu Dan-Agaji, all of them farmers from DakiTakwas village in Gummi Local Government Area (LGA) of Zamfara State, North West Nigeria. They also injured Ali Yabo, a member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and two others.

These acts of terror were enough to dash Umaru’s hopes as he was dragged along with the girls to Gando forest in Bukuyum local government area. But what played out the next day would forever serve as a testimony to him that as long as there was life, hope must be kept alive, he says.

But before then, Umaru, a charcoal vendor, witnessed something he would always remember – the way the terrorists treated their teenage victims. When they reached Gando forest that day in August, there were ten other teenage girls already in captivity, making them a total of 17 at least. All of them were forced to cook for the teeming armed group. 

Bala Masama, a kidnap victim from Masamar-Mudi, backs the camera in Bukuyum LGA. Photo Credit: Abdullahi Abubakar/HumAngle.

Captives as cooks

“It was painful seeing such young girls, most of them under 18 years, exposed to various hardships in the forest,” Umaru told HumAngle. “They were forced to cook for all the terrorists and also fellow hostages.”

Together with the girls, Umaru had been one of those saddled with the responsibility of fetching water from a distant place. “To stir tuwo was enough to break a girl’s chest,” he said, referring to the large quantity of corn flour boiling over firewood. 

“The girls are still with their hostage takers since Saturday, Aug. 2 when seven of them were abducted at Gandu, a forest zone that many women and children, including the old, visit every season to fetch tafasa leaves [a local vegetable].”

Umaru later learned that those captured before them had spent four months in the forest.

Fetching water for the camp was what finally provided a means of escape for Umaru. 


“I sneaked out from the crowd when we went to fetch water from a stream down the bush in the thick forest,” he said. 

Terrorists’ hideout situated along Mallamawa-Gurusu highway in Bukuyum LGA, Zamfara State. Photo Credit: Abdullahi Abubakar/HumAngle. 

While in captivity, Umaru heard the terrorists converse and call each other by name. These names include Mainasara, Haira, Saminu and Chuso. 

“They are easily located in Gando forest, Kairu, Kawaye, and Sumke, all terrorists’ enclaves,” he pointed out.

A path frequently used by terrorists that leads to Gando forest via Gyara village, where armed groups intercept travellers along Bukuyum-Anka LGAs. Photo Credit: Abdullahi Abubakar/HumAngle 

When HumAngle contacted Mannir Haidara, the Zamfara State Commissioner Ministry of Information, he said: “We are presently in a meeting with the Zamfara State Commissioner of Police over the matters relating to market closure in the state due to the growing rate of attacks in the state. On the issue of teenage girls abduction, I have no idea about it.” 

This reporter also spoke to Yazid Abubakar, the Zamfara State police spokesperson on the abduction of the teenage girls in DakiTakwas and their forced labour in the camp.  “We are indeed getting rid of the security situation in Zamfara. I will contact our sources to verify and confirm what is the situation there for prompt action,” he said. 

It could be recalled that on Aug. 27, 2022, Dogo Gudale conscripted 240 people from 12 villages to work at his farm located at a terror camp in Bukuyum LGA. 

Asterisked name was changed to protect the subject’s identity

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