Boko Haram Escapee Claims to Know Location of Kidnapped Schoolgirls

AP Photo/Sunday Alamba
AP Photo/Sunday Alamba

An elder Nigerian woman kidnapped by Boko Haram claims to have been told in captivity where the terrorist group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, is hiding, and where the group has hidden more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok, Borno, in April 2014.

Speaking to Nigeria’s Daily Times, 67-year-old Maryamu Bala told the story of how she was abducted and separated from her granddaughter, whom she laments was “defiled” by Boko Haram terrorists during her captivity. While being hidden from Nigerian authorities in the woods, one of the female captives told Bala that “many girls of our age” were hidden on the other side of their Boko Haram camp, along with Shekau:

 A girl who is one of the maids confided in me, “Mama, you see the other side of the camp is where Abubakar Shekau and top commandants are living. There are many girls of our age there, even me, they don’t allow me to go there.” When that young girl said that to me, I quickly remembered the story of the abducted Chibok school girls. Though I did not see them, my spirit told me they are in that camp.

Bala says she could retrace her steps to that camp.

She also relayed to the Daily Times a number of notable details on her experience in captivity. She described the Boko Haram terrorists as not exclusively black Nigerians: “Some of the people resembled Arabs with long hairs, while some are pure white coming around having series of meetings.” Such a testimony could help corroborate previously existing reports that Boko Haram is actively working with members of the Islamic State, and that they are not just ideologically, but materially, working in tandem. While Boko Haram leadership had repeatedly expressed support for the Islamic State, the group did not pledge its full allegiance to ISIS until this March, which would place territories controlled by Boko Haram under the purview of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The Islamic State accepted the pledge shortly thereafter.

Bala also noted that Boko Haram forced her to convert from Christianity to Islam but did not consistently apply the rules of Islam that she had learned earlier in life from Muslim friends. In particular, she was not required to face east towards Mecca when crouching down to pray. “It surprised me so much that their kind of Islam is different with the one I know many of my relations are practicing in Madagali,” she noted.

Next month will mark the one-year anniversary of the siege of Chibok, in which Boko Haram abducted more than 200 girls attending a physics secondary school exam. The assault turned Boko Haram’s Islamist campaign into an international story and launched the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, which so far, has not succeeded in returning the young girls to their families. In video messages, Shekau vowed to convert the girls to Islam and either sell them into slavery or marry them off to Boko Haram terrorists.

In September, Breitbart News interviewed one of the Chibok schoolgirls who escaped after being abducted from Boko Haram.