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‘We Served As Slaves Before Our Forced Marriage To Terrorists’ — Escaped Chibok Girls

Two Chibok schoolgirls who, last week, found their way to freedom eight years after their abduction recount their experiences.

On Tuesday, June 21, one of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls who has now regained freedom, Mary Dauda, gave a brief account of the eight years she spent in captivity.  

Last week, HumAngle reported how the military had spotted and rescued her, then identified by the authorities as Mary Ngoshe. The young woman, now 26 years old, was found with a boy child she had for her Boko Haram ‘husband’. 

Another Chibok Schoolgirl, Hauwa Joseph, regained her freedom within the same week. 

The two girls were officially presented to the media on Tuesday, June 21, ahead of their reunion with their family. 

Theater Commander of Operation Hadin Kai, Major General Chris Musa, and the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division, Major General Waidi Shaibu, briefed the press about the two girls’ escape and eventual rescue last week. 

The army generals credited the freedom of the two ladies, both nursing mothers, to the ongoing military offensive against terrorists, especially in their Sambisa Forest enclaves. 

According to the GOC, while Hauwa Joseph was rescued around the Bama general area, Mary Dauda was rescued around Ngoshe general area. 

Sharing her experience, Mary said she was forced into marriage about seven years ago. 

“After our abduction from school some eight years ago, we were forced to serve as slaves to Boko Haram because we refused to accept Islam and marry one of the Boko Haram members,” she said. 

She said they had to accept Islam later before their servitude ended. 

Hauwa, whose adopted Muslim name was Zainab, said the father of her son, Usman, was a Boko Haram commander from Gombe State. 

“I was forced to marry him seven years ago, and I’ve been with him until he was killed during a military raid last year,” she said. 

The girls had referred to the men they were forced to marry as “my husbands” before quickly rephrasing their status as “father to this child”. 

They said they lived in thatched rooms in separate villages within the Sambisa Forest. 

Mary was in the Ukuba fortress, where the late Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, lived before he was killed in May 2021. 

“I knew and saw Shekau several times because he lived with us in Ukuba village inside Sambisa forest, but he is now dead,” she said. 

Hauwa, who lived in the Gazuwa enclave, said she only saw Shekau through her partner’s laptop. She explained that when Shekau issued recorded messages to his followers, the sub-commanders usually viewed them on their computers. 

Both girls said they took advantage of the depletion of Boko Haram’s rank of fighters around the Sambisa forest area and Mandara mountains to stage their escape. 

Since their abduction in April 2014, over 160 of the Chibok schoolgirls have regained their freedom while more than 100 are either still with the Boko Haram or are reported to have died in captivity. 

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Abdulkareem Haruna

Abdulkareem Haruna is a Nigerian journalist currently employed as the Editor for Lake Chad at HumAngle. For over a decade, he has demonstrated a passionate commitment to reporting on the Boko Haram conflict and the crisis in the Lake Chad region of northeastern Nigeria. He is a graduate of English Language and holds a Diploma in Mass Communications. Prior to his current role, he served as an assistant editor at both Premium Times and Leadership Newspaper.

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