Tuesday, 24 March 2015

‘How B’Haram killed my parents in my presence’

A 16-year-old Boko Haram captive simply identified as Babagana has relayed the gruesome experiences of how Boko Haram members murdered his parents as he watched, and how he escaped from the sect’s captivity amidst gunshots and fiery pursuit.

Speaking with Dailybeast, Babagana, who was kidnapped in May 2014, said the sect bombarded his home and gruesomely killed his parents while he was forced to watch. He was taken into captivity afterwards. “They asked me about my parents, they then killed them in front of me. That is how Boko Haram operates,” he said.

“They first take out your parents, so you have no one else to fall back to; they first take out your parents so you have no one else.” Babagana said he left the sect’s hideout almost naked in the midnight and walked through the forest for hours before he found help. “I didn’t leave with anything. When the chance came to escape, I only had my pants on. I ran almost naked,” he said.

“I was lucky to have escaped; there were so many voices and bullets coming after me.” Boko Haram militants had invaded Gamboru in Borno state, burning down houses and demanding that the local children be handed over to them.

Parents who objected were killed, while some children were forcefully taken. Babagana said he could not stand the horror being perpetrated by the sect, adding that he had to escape because he was eventually going to die if he stayed.

“They killed people for no reason—I just couldn’t stand the horror. It made me terribly scared. “They killed anyone who didn’t heed to their instructions.

Girls were often subjected to sexual abuse—anyone who proved stubborn was shot dead. “I lost my mind with all that I saw—I thought if I didn’t find a way of escaping, sooner rather than later, it would be my turn.

I tried to talk my colleagues into escaping. They wanted to, but were scared they could be caught and killed.” On arrival at Gamboru, Babagana was not accepted by his family, who no longer trusted him, which is usually the case with the children who flee captivity.

He finally made it to a displacement camp in Maiduguri, a place he now calls home. According to Hassan Mustapha, a child-protection specialist in Maiduguri, children are often put to a “test of manhood” once they were conscripted.

“Once a child is conscripted by Boko Haram, he is first asked to kill his parents, which is a symbol of initiation into the sect. They destroy everything of value to these children so they have no options.”

Yusuf Mohammed, a Maiduguri resident who works with children affected by trauma, added that the sects trust children more than adults.

“Militants feel more comfortable working with children than with adults because they come cheap, are extremely loyal, and can be easily controlled; unlike adults, it is easy to brainwash and intimidate them,” he said.

Source: TheCableNg

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