Armed ViolenceNews

ISWAP Frees Woman Abducted 18 Months Ago

The woman was released after 18 months in ISWAP captivity following an amnesty by the Islamic State affiliate.

The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) has released a civil servant, Rahilatu Garba Musa, abducted in Feb. 2021 along the highway linking Damaturu and Maiduguri, the capitals of northeastern states of Yobe and Borno in Nigeria. 

Rahilatu, in her early 30s, regained her freedom on Wednesday, Sep. 14, at a time everyone in her family seemed to have forgotten about her. She had spent 18 months in captivity. 

HumAngle learnt from sources familiar with her release that her abductors did not make any demands when she was asked to go.

The woman, a civil servant based in Bauchi state but originally from Yobe state, was reportedly granted a pardon by a high ranking ISWAP member. The Islamic State affiliate operates in Nigeria and other countries bordering Lake Chad. 


She was led to the outskirts of Damasak town in northern Borno near the border with Niger republic and handed the sum of ₦5000 ($12) to aid her transport. 

“She had to find her way to the commercial bus station where she boarded a Maiduguri-bound vehicle,” said a source close to the freed woman. 

Musa was later debriefed by the Nigerian secret police, DSS,  before she was later excused to go home.  

Her release by ISWAP is linked to a practice of granting amnesty to older women that are mostly Muslims. An official of the domestic intelligence agency confirmed the development to HumAngle but wished not to make any statement to the press. 

Without any form of support or psychosocial trauma counselling, she was left to go home like many other freed abductees are. 


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Abdulkareem Haruna

Abdulkareem Haruna is a Nigerian journalist who has provided extensive coverage of the Lake Chad conflict in north-eastern Nigeria for over a decade. A graduate of English Language with a Diploma in Mass Communications. He previously worked as an assistant editor with Premium Times and Leadership Newspaper. Haruna has a strong knowledge of the Northeast and follows the trends in the region closely.

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