Unlucky Victims of Boko Haram are raped and sold as slaves

February 11, 2015 8:44 am

On a bed at the female ward of the University of Maiduguri Teaching
Hospital lay a 15-year-old girl in an evidently bad state. Her face and
head were bandaged, leaving slits through which only a bruised eye and
swollen lips were visible. On her body were clearer signs of trauma,
with burns running from her neck down to the lower parts of her body.

Around her bed wafted a foul smell, which a nurse who came to attend to her attributed to a septic wound in the girl’s skull.
A
nurse who did not want to be named because she was not authorised to
speak to the press told the icirnigeria.org that a group of people from
the biggest internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Maiduguri dumped
Lami (the surnames of all victims in this report are withheld to protect
them) at the hospital.

“We have many of them. They’d been either raped in the camp or sold by
those that should be protecting them in the camps,” the nurse said.

Approached by the reporter, Lami tried to speak, but her voice was muffled to a whisper as pains coursed through her body.

She
said her parents were killed by insurgents in her village
and she managed to reach Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, in an open
truck that dropped people off at a camp for displaced persons.

In the course of moving from one camp to the other, she was separated
from her younger brother. “I do not know where he is,” she said through
muffled sobs.

 Lami said some government officials came to the camp and took many
young girls away and later sold them as slaves. She ended up in the
house of one Alhaji Aliyu, whose brother and wife abused her. While
Aliyu’s brother repeatedly raped her, his wife weighed in with physical
abuse.

“One day, some people came to the camp and said that they were taking us
to a better place. That was how I got to Alhaji Aliyu’s house and it
was there, every day, his brother forcibly slept with me.

“After
that, he would beat me and one of Alhaji’s wifes too would always beat
me. One day she attacked me with a knife. That was how I got the wound
in my skull,  

In Gombe, 16-year-old Laraba told the icirnigeria.org that an official
of the state emergency relief agency named Ibrahim took her from the
camp where she was to his home on the pretext that she would be helping
the wife with household chores.

“I was happy leaving the camp, but when we got to his house, there was
no wife. He raped me continuously for three nights, locked me inside his
house for days and threatened me.”
She continued: “I managed to
escape and came back to the camp. I got pregnant. An old woman we call
‘Kaka’, gave me some leaves. I was bleeding for almost two weeks and
smelling.”
She said she is currently feeling better and has overcome
the ordeal. But she had to suffer in silence, as she could not tell
anyone because she thought nobody would believe her and for fear of
being sent away from the camp.
“I am not the only one this has
happened to and I am sure Ibrahim, the health worker, is not the only
one doing this type of thing,” she said.

 Thirty-two-year-old Binta caught our reporter’s attention as she
muttered to herself, looking like a traumatised person. The tale she
told was shocking and distressing. Sadly, no one believes her or is
willing to do anything about it.

“After the attack in Mubi, I fled with my one-year-old child. From the
first camp we were, a secondary school, I was told a family in Yola was
coming to take us. They came to pick me and my baby. When I saw them I
was suspicious, but what could I do, without anyone to help? I put my
baby in the car, and they sped away,” she said resignedly.
Binta is
realistic to know that she might never see her baby again but her
problem is what to tell her husband from whom she was separated in the
aftermath of the attack on Mubi.
“I have lost all hope of ever seeing
my baby again. I do not know whether my husband is alive or not. A
family member says he was among those who ran to Cameroun.
“If he finds me tomorrow, what do I tell him about our baby?” she wondered.

 Kingsley Ogar, a member of staff of an international donor agency, who
did not want his organisation named, confirmed that child trafficking is
rife in the IDP camps.

“We had a case in Gombe where a group of persons came from the South,
Lagos or Ibadan, we can’t be so sure, paid some people and took away
children from the camp.
“We went to deliver relief items in this
particular IDP camp and took a census so that we could come back the
following day, which we did, only to realise that over a dozen of them
were missing. They were mostly young children between the ages of 5 and
15.
“Upon investigation, we discovered that some ‘lords’ in the camp were colluding with the Lagos people to sell the kids.
“We reported to the police (Gombe State command), but we do not know whether they have done anything,” he said.

 Our reporter visited the camp posing as an official of a church that
takes care of children and made startling discoveries. An official in
the camp named Raila, who wore the reflective vest of the National
Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told the reporter to wait while she
went into a makeshift office. There, she spoke with a male colleague,
whom she said was an official of NEMA.She returned to announce:

“You will pay N50,000 for each child and you can only go with three if you want them today,

Without any attempt at verifying the reporter’s identity and in less
than 30 minutes, three children were ready to be sold, possibly never to
return to their roots.
Culled from Thisday

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