INDEPENDENT NEWS

Survivors: The terrorists killed many people in front of us

Published: Thu 15 Aug 2019 10:06 AM
To mark the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, on 21 August, UN News travelled to Chad and the Far North region of Cameroon in West Africa earlier this year, to interview people who have personal stories to tell, about how terrorism has shattered their lives.
Hawa Abdu, a 38-year old Nigerian mother of two was abducted by Boko Haram in 2014 and spent four years with the outlawed terrorist group moving around the north-east of Nigeria. She has been living in Minawao, a camp for Nigerian refugees in the Far North region of Cameroon, since January 2018.
In 2014, my mother was in Bama, a town in between the state capital of Borno State, Nigeria, and the border with Cameroon, so I went to see her. One day, we were told by the local authorities that it was not safe to stay, but I refused to move my mother because she was sick. The terrorists entered the town at 4 a.m. the next day and gathered in the market. It was beyond our power to prevent them.
I heard gun shots from all sides, and in the confusion, my two children ran in one direction and I went with my mother in another. We were caught by terrorists and my mother was slapped and left on the ground.
I was taken, many of us were taken, by the terrorists. We were driven to the town of Zamaimaya and then had to walk 10 kilometres into the bush.
All but the young girls were forced to marry a Boko Haram fighter. I refused to begin with, however after three days I realized I had no choice but to agree, because they said if we did not marry, we would be executed. I was ordered to convert to Islam, which I did before the marriage.
After I married, I was beaten a lot and given very little food. One time I spent seven days without food. Sometimes I was given dindiri or beans to eat. I suffered a lot from hunger. I hated being married to a Boko Haram fighter.
The terrorists killed many people in front of us. We did not have the power to stop that happening.
We moved around the bush a lot, changing locations day by day. God saved me during these harsh times.
One day, my daughter Hadiza who is 13-years old managed to escape. I have not seen her since. I pray every day that she is still alive. I do not know where my mother is. And then later soldiers came and chased away Boko Haram, and they helped me and my other daughter, Fatima, who is now 14 years old, to escape.
She is with me in Minawao camp today.
I have spent over a year in this camp and have been given food and clothes by my neighbours. I have not eaten chicken since I have been here. I sell groundnuts to make a little money. I need a mat, a pot and more clothes.
I am suffering from heart disease and anxiety and cannot forget how I was separated from my parents and brothers and the killings I saw. I think about this every day.
One way, I can relax is by listening to music to Hausa Fulani songs. I sometimes borrow my neighbour’s phone to listen. It makes me happy; it gives me peace of mind.

Next in World

Decade ending 2019 likely to be hottest on record
By: UN News
Gordon Campbell on the recent upheavals inside Iran
By: Gordon Campbell
UN emissions report: World on course for spike
By: UN News
Tongan PM 'Akilisi Pohiva dies, aged 78
By: RNZ
Hottest November on record: NIWA climate scientists
By: NIWA
Government funds to continue investing in fossil fuels
By: RNZ
COP 25: Pacific nations demand greater commitments
By: RNZ
Leaders urged not to COP out of climate action in Madrid
By: RNZ
Bridges condemns climate protest vandalism at his office
By: RNZ
Climate change lens on major Government decisions
By: New Zealand Government
Green economy not to be feared
By: UN News
Sustainable Development Goals
By: United Nations
Is the world ready to end the coal era?
By: United Nations
COP25 Launchpad for Significantly more Climate Ambition
By: UNFCCC
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media