One of many Chibok ladies freed in Might has been telling journalist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani how a diary was saved of a few of her three years in captivity with Boko Haram Islamist militants.
One of many oldest in her class, Naomi Adamu was 24 when she and greater than 200 primarily Christian college students had been taken off into Boko Haram’s Sambisa forest hideout in north-eastern Nigeria in 2014, sparking international outrage.
Whereas in captivity, the women got train books for the Koranic courses they had been made to attend.
However among the ladies used these to maintain secret diaries. When the militants discovered, they had been compelled to burn the books.
Ms Adamu managed to cover hers. She and her shut buddy, Sarah Samuel, now 20, and three different ladies used the books to chronicle a few of their experiences.
The diary entries, written in satisfactory English and poor Hausa, are undated and seem like from their early months in captivity.
Listed below are 10 of the various disclosures. Some spelling and punctuation have been altered for readability:
1) Kidnap was not the plan
The militants who attacked the Chibok faculty on 14 April 2014 had include the intention of stealing an “engine block”, the diary notes. It isn’t clear what piece of equipment they needed – there had been some building work on the faculty a number of weeks earlier, so it might have been the machine used for moulding cement blocks, which may also be used for developing crude weapons, or they could have been after an engine block from a automobile.
However when it couldn’t be discovered, they argued over what to do with the scholars they’d gathered in teams. After contemplating a variety of gory choices, they determined to take the women with them.
“So that they began argument of their midst. So one small boy mentioned that they need to burn us all they usually mentioned, ‘No allow us to take them with us to Sambisa.’ One other particular person mentioned, ‘No let’s not try this. Let’s lead them… after which go to their guardian properties.’ As they had been in argument, then one among them mentioned, ‘No, I can not include empty automotive and return with empty automotive… If we take them to [Abubakar] Shekau [Boko Haram’s leader], he’ll know what to do.'”
2) A telltale prevented escape
Some ladies had been loaded into the militants’ automobile on the faculty whereas the bulk had been made to stroll at gunpoint for miles, till a number of vehicles arrived to ferry them away.
On their method to Boko Haram’s forest hideout, when some college students started escaping by leaping off the vehicles, one of many kidnapped ladies alerted their abductors – maybe out of concern of being left alone, or a propensity to obey whoever is in authority, or the will to have firm in distress.
“Then one woman within the automotive mentioned, ‘Driver, some ladies are leaping to flee.’ Then the motive force opened the door of the automotive then looked for them with the torch however did not discover anybody. So that they mentioned to them that they need to keep [in] one place, that in the event that they leap down once more, in the event that they noticed her or any they may shoot her.”
three) Merciless methods
The militants performed a variety of merciless methods on the kidnapped ladies, together with pretending that their dad and mom had been captured by Boko Haram however it will grow to be unfaithful. On one event, they separated the Christian ladies from those that had been who Muslim – threatening to burn those that wouldn’t convert to Islam with petrol.
“Then they got here to us and mentioned, ‘Those that are Muslim, it’s time for prayer.’ After they’d prayed, [they said], ‘Those that are Muslim, allow them to be on one aspect and people who are Christian allow them to too be on one aspect.’
“Then we noticed jerrycan within the automotive so we thought it was petrol. Then they mentioned, ‘Who and what number of of you’ll flip to Muslim.’ So many people, due to concern, a few of us rise up and went inside… So [they said], ‘The remainder that stay you need to die, is that why you do not need to be Muslim? We’re going to burn you…’ Then they offer us that jerrycan which we thought it was petrol. It isn’t petrol, it’s water.”
four) Militant anger over rape claims
A few of the Chibok ladies have said in earlier interviews that they weren’t sexually abused or compelled into marriage – though they had been typically whipped to steer them to marry. Some ladies had been additionally taken as official concubines.
The diaries present that the militants had been furious about insinuations within the media that they had been raping the women. The group’s chief, Abubakar Shekau, ranted about this a variety of occasions, first in a recorded message that was performed to the women.
“Then within the night time, they gathered us and preached to us and put [on] a cassette. They mentioned that cassette is from their grasp Mr Abubakar Shekau…. So he mentioned that simply due to they kidnapped us to come back and educate us the way in which of God, then your dad and mom and the federal government and your principal are crying to us and saying that we’re raping you and are doing dangerous, dangerous issues to you… We introduced you to show you the way in which of Allah.”
5) Hijabs towards temptation
The militants pleaded with the women to not lead them into temptation, encouraging them to at all times hold their our bodies lined in a hijab.
“He opened the Koran and began studying it, then he learn one place that mentioned anyone which they kidnap on the combat of jihad, it’s your personal, no matter you want you’ll do with that particular person… It isn’t a should that particular person ought to shut his or her physique however we that they offer us hijab is that they do not need to see our physique, which is able to make them to sin and do what may be very dangerous.”
6) Marriage proposals
The wedding proposals from militants had been frequent and forceful.
“One woman needed to go contained in the room and decide one thing then Malam Ahmed [one of the militants] went and met her and requested her about marriage. Then she mentioned, ‘No.’ He requested her, ‘And so what’s your individual resolution about this marriage?’
“Then she mentioned that no, they kidnapped her from GGSS [Government Girls Secondary School] Chibok and introduced her to Sambisa and now they’re speaking to her about marriage. How will she get married in spite of everything her mom and her father and her aunties and the remainder of her colleagues, they do not even know… Then she requested him, if she says no – that she won’t get married, she’s going to solely keep and comply with her God alone, is it not good? Then he mentioned, ‘No, it’s dangerous.'”
Some had been pressured to vary their thoughts.
“We noticed the folks are available two Hilux [vans]. Then they got here asking for many who need to get married. They requested us and mentioned anyone who accepts Muslim faith… should get married if really she holds the faith with two palms. They gave us 30 minutes to present them their reply however we saved quiet. Then we stayed for an hour however no one answered them.”
Naomi Adamu advised me that those that refused to get married had been handled as slaves: “Day by day, they beat us. They inform us to marry and for those who refuse, they may beat you. We are going to wash fabric, fetch water, do every thing for his or her wives. We had been slaves.”
7) Escapees returned by villagers
Regardless of the worldwide Carry Again Our Ladies marketing campaign, which noticed the involvement of celebrities like former US First Woman Michelle Obama, folks in surrounding communities needed no half in bringing again the women, and returned some escapees.
“There may be one other day that some ladies ran. They tried to flee however they could not. So these folks arrested them. The way in which they arrested them was they entered into a store and requested them to assist them and provides them water and biscuit. So, the folks requested them, ‘Who’re you and the place did you come from?’ The women mentioned, ‘We’re those who the BH kidnapped from GGSS [Government Girls Secondary School], Chibok.’ So, one of many folks mentioned, ‘Are these not Shekau’s youngsters?’
“So that they gave them good meals to eat and a spot to sleep and the subsequent day, they returned them to our place… As they introduced them to Sambisa at night time, they whipped them and mentioned that they will minimize off their necks.”
eight) Conversion blame recreation
The women had been advised that they might be allowed to go dwelling to their households if all of them, with no exception, agreed to transform to Islam. Those that agreed to transform then blamed the women who refused for his or her continued captivity.
“They mentioned that these that don’t settle for Muslim faith are [like] sheep and cows and goat, though they like [them], they may kill them… Then Malam Abba [one of the militants] mentioned those who who didn’t settle for Muslim faith, they need to be on one aspect, allow them to not enter into those that have turn into Muslim. So he advised us to remain apart – that they will prepare one other place for them. One other particular person mentioned no, that allow us keep collectively. As they left, one week later, the remainder of us mentioned that we that didn’t turn into Muslim, we’re those that are stopping ourselves from going dwelling.”
9) How movies had been filmed
Boko Haram launched a number of movies concerning the Chibok ladies. It is a behind-the-scenes have a look at the making of one among them.
“Then there’s a day earlier than this, they got here and… [filmed] about 10 ladies below the Tamarind tree. They referred to as them one after the other and requested them about their identify and the identify of their dad and mom after which they view [us through the lens] and mentioned, ‘Did we damage you in any manner.’ We mentioned, ‘No.’ They advised us to inform our dad and mom and the federal government what they’re doing to us. The federal government and our dad and mom are saying that they’re raping us and disturbing us.
“So that they referred to as out one among us and requested her, ‘Since we kidnapped you and introduced you to this place, have we ever slept with or raped you?’ She answered, ‘No.’ He requested her once more… ‘I’ll such as you to allow you to present to your dad and mom and the federal government what we now have supplied you and the way we’re taking excellent care of you.'”
10) Militants listened to the radio
Boko Haram militants within the Sambisa forest would comply with the information.
“They stayed a short time and listened to the BBC [Hausa service]. As they completed listening to the radio, they referred to as us one after the other. They advised some to face and a few to kneel and a few to take a seat so that they seen us [through the camera] and advised us to learn. Then we learn from [Islamic text].”
What’s occurred to the diarists?
Naomi Adamu and three different diarists – Rhoda Peter, Saratu Ayuba and Margaret Yama – had been launched in Might.
In September, the federal government despatched them to check on the American College of Nigeria within the north-eastern city of Yola.
Ms Adamu, the second of seven youngsters, mentioned she saved the diaries with solely her household in thoughts, and appears baffled by my curiosity.
“I wrote it due to remembrance,” she mentioned.
“For my brothers to see it, my sisters to see it, my dad and mom to see it.”
However her buddy Sarah Samuel, who wrote most of the entries, is but to return, which is a supply of disappointment for her.
“I really feel pained. I really feel so pained. Up until now, I am nonetheless desirous about her.”
About two years into their captivity, at a time when a navy crackdown led to Boko Haram’s provides being minimize off, she succumbed to strain and married, a call that entitled her to depart the camp along with her Boko Haram husband, hopefully for a greater life elsewhere with entry to meals. None of those that obtained married have been launched to date.
Her father, Samuel Yaga, advised me that he was not stunned to be taught that his oldest youngster wrote whereas in captivity.
“She was at all times studying. Generally, she fell asleep with a guide in her lap,” he mentioned.
On the final web page of 1 pocket book, she had listed the names of her 5 siblings, ending with: “My father’s identify is Samuel and my mom’s identify is Rebecca.”
It was virtually as if she didn’t need to neglect.
Extra about Chibok: