Our Ordeal In Sambisa Forest

sambisa

It was one of those cold nights; we were like walking blankets as we retired to the dormitory. Obviously, we longed for our various beds, to get lost in its warm embrace. Our pace depicted anxiety, but the terrific noises stopped us suddenly. It kept us away; making us linger in the cold longer than we ever wanted. The gun shot brought the assurance of danger; we took off like athletes. The race for survival was on and just like in the Olympics only the usain bolts made it to survival.

As we were gathered and made to sit on the grasses outside the dormitories, we never minded to obey immediately we recognized the guns. They marched those who were lucky to have tasted the warmth of their beds out to join us. Sisters, friends, classmates, school mothers and their daughters held tight to each other shedding tears out of the fear of getting raped or killed. At that point, every other possible outcome seemed better. But we weren’t saved by tears. The headlight moving towards us handed us confusion. Immediately it stopped few meters from us, we were bundled onto the rear. It was then we recognized the headlight’s bearer. The space was far too small for us to fit in but that is only if they cared about our convenience. Sitting on one another’s laps, we began the journey to God knows where, the lorry was rickety, it moved reluctantly, made annoying noises and worst of all, the black smoke from the exhaust pipe kept suffocating us. Though we all had our hands over our mouths and noses, we still coughed at intervals.

The sun had only begun her west bound journey when the lorry got relieved of its suffering. As we jumped down one after the other, we recognized the place as nowhere. In obedience we began to march into a very thick forest. Only the sound of sticks breaking and that of leaves rustling beneath our feet prevailed. We were in their company at every side. Our cries have been choked by puzzlement. At first, our journey seemed to be an endless one because we sighted nothing at the horizon.

We have been expected by our strange looking hosts, the cleared area was carefully guarded with barbed wires which could be seen in its struggle of keeping away the bushes. We were ordered to sit on the ground; we noticed their pleased countenances as they looked in our direction. In no time they gave us hijabs and asked us to put it on.
A tall skinny man emerged from one of the huts. He was mean and had a wicked look on his face. He began his speech with” asalam alaikum” which he got no reply to; his speech was delivered in Hausa language, so only few of us were in luck. Part of his speech that captured my attention was;

“You are all chosen by Allah to protect Islam…………………….. Education is a brainwash and a trick into slavery by the white men. All they do is to corrupt your minds with their rotten beliefs……………. This war is for all of us, Islam must stand ALLAHU AHKBAR!”

He did his best in condemning the government, quoting from the Koran most of the time.
From that day on, we lived a very secluded and strange life. We got married to any one of them that chose us. We were never expected to say anything; we only had to nod in agreement to anything they say. We were devoured like dogs. Some days, our hopes would return at hearing that the armies were getting closer, only to lose it at last. We were shipped out like merchandises into Niger and Cameroun. We were their sex objects, human shields, suicide bombers and maids. We returned to freedom one after the other either through escape or recovery by the soldiers. It is a happy ending but not for most of us.

OUR ORDEAL IN SAMBISA FOREST

It was one of those cold nights; we were like walking blankets as we retired to the dormitory. Obviously, we longed for our various beds, to get lost in its warm embrace. Our pace depicted anxiety, but the terrific noises stopped us suddenly. It kept us away; making us linger in the cold longer than we ever wanted. The gun shot brought the assurance of danger; we took off like athletes. The race for survival was on and just like in the Olympics only the usain bolts made it to survival.
As we were gathered and made to sit on the grasses outside the dormitories, we never minded to obey immediately we recognized the guns. They marched those who were lucky to have tasted the warmth of their beds out to join us. Sisters, friends, classmates, school mothers and their daughters held tight to each other shedding tears out of the fear of getting raped or killed. At that point, every other possible outcome seemed better. But we weren’t saved by tears. The headlight moving towards us handed us confusion. Immediately it stopped few meters from us, we were bundled onto the rear. It was then we recognized the headlight’s bearer. The space was far too small for us to fit in but that is only if they cared about our convenience. Sitting on one another’s laps, we began the journey to God knows where, the lorry was rickety, it moved reluctantly, made annoying noises and worst of all, the black smoke from the exhaust pipe kept suffocating us. Though we all had our hands over our mouths and noses, we still coughed at intervals.
The sun had only begun her west bound journey when the lorry got relieved of its suffering. As we jumped down one after the other, we recognized the place as nowhere. In obedience we began to march into a very thick forest. Only the sound of sticks breaking and that of leaves rustling beneath our feet prevailed. We were in their company at every side. Our cries have been choked by puzzlement. At first, our journey seemed to be an endless one because we sighted nothing at the horizon.
We have been expected by our strange looking hosts, the cleared area was carefully guarded with barbed wires which could be seen in its struggle of keeping away the bushes. We were ordered to sit on the ground; we noticed their pleased countenances as they looked in our direction. In no time they gave us hijabs and asked us to put it on.
A tall skinny man emerged from one of the huts. He was mean and had a wicked look on his face. He began his speech with” asalam alaikum” which he got no reply to; his speech was delivered in Hausa language, so only few of us were in luck. Part of his speech that captured my attention was;
“You are all chosen by Allah to protect Islam…………………….. Education is a brainwash and a trick into slavery by the white men. All they do is to corrupt your minds with their rotten beliefs……………. This war is for all of us, Islam must stand ALLAHU AHKBAR!”
He did his best in condemning the government, quoting from the Koran most of the time.
From that day on, we lived a very secluded and strange life. We got married to any one of them that chose us. We were never expected to say anything; we only had to nod in agreement to anything they say. We were devoured like dogs. Some days, our hopes would return at hearing that the armies were getting closer, only to lose it at last. We were shipped out like merchandises into Niger and Cameroun. We were their sex objects, human shields, suicide bombers and maids. We returned to freedom one after the other either through escape or recovery by the soldiers. It is a happy ending but not for most of us.



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