- Thousands of women and girls in northeastern Nigeria have been abducted and forced into marriages to Boko Haram fighters
- Hauwa is one of hundreds of abducted girls from northeastern states who staggered to freedom after been abducted by Boko Haram
- The bravery of this young girl is an inspiration to other women and girls who have gone through a great deal in the hands of Boko Haram terrorists
- For more Boko Haram-related reports, visit : https://www.naij.com/tag/boko-haram.html
Thousands of girls and women have been abducted by the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram since it began its insurgency in 2009.
The most notably abduction was that of more than 200 Chibok girls from their school in southern Borno state in April 2014.
In October 2016, 21 of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls were released by their Boko Haram captors in the town of Banki close to Nigeria's border with Cameroon.
The Nigerian government says that negotiations with Boko Haram will continue to free the 197 students who are still missing.
Sadly for a few families it appears that some of the girls died in captivity. The mother of a schoolgirl Amina Ali who escaped in May of 2016 said that some of Amina's classmates were killed in military bombardments.
Many of these young girls were used as cooks, slaves and even bombers. Yet some of these girls like Hauwa found a way to escape from their captors.
As a young child full of life, Hauwa lived happily with her brother and parents in Bama local government area of Borno state.
That happy life became a nightmare at the beginning of the new school year as the terror of the Boko Haram insurgency began to creep into her life daily.
The once happy family was ripped apart early one morning when they were awoken by a barrage of gunfire.
Hauwa and her family hid in their home, but after several days the terrorists came knocking on the door.
The insurgents had been hunting for young women. Hauwa’s father tried protecting her but when the terrorists threatened to kill him, she surrendered herself. She found out later that the insurgents had killed him anyway.
Hauwa is one of hundreds of abducted women and girls from northeastern states who have staggered to freedom, many of them pregnant or carrying babies fathered by Boko Haram terrorists.
She was dragged deep into the forest along with other abducted women by her captors who were fleeing from army retaliation. The women were treated like animals as they were starved and forced to walk through the night to find places to hide.
They were given an ultimatum they will not taste food or water until they agree to be married.
According to her life started to get easier after she got married, she was given more food and allowed a bit of movement around a little. However she never stopped looking for a way to escape.
An opportunity to escape came one day when her husband gave her permission to travel with an old woman to Bama town in Borno state and she was able to slip away. Hauwa while on the run she tried very hard to locate her village.
Thousands of other women and girls in northeastern Nigeria were abducted and forced into marriages to Boko Haram fighters.
They share harrowing stories of friends and neighbors killed for refusing to accept marriage to an insurgent or for trying to escape.
Hauwa was later able to piece together what had happened to her family. She learnt of the death of her brother and that her mother had fled to Maiduguri.
Through everything Hauwa’s mother had not given up hope of finding her daughter, she eventually got wind of the fact that her child might still be alive.
Both mother and child were happily reunited and began to settle to a new life in camp. It was discovered later that Hauwa was with child.
She kept the baby and named the child after her father who died trying to protect her.
Her bravery is an inspiration to other women and girls who have gone through a great deal in the hands of Boko Haram terrorists.
Many of them were taken when the insurgents took control of their towns in 2014 and 2015, and then incarcerated in packed houses. As the group retreated under government fire, they endured terrifying bombing raids, hunger and disease alongside their captors.
As former wives, slaves or fighters, many of them bear the stigma of association with the insurgents and are barred from reintroduction into their communities, in part because the lines between militant, sympathiser and forced accomplice are blurred.
In spite of everything that had happened to her while she was married to one of Boko Haram soldiers, Hauwa said: “I hold no anger in my heart.”
Survivors from Boko Haram attack will always remember what they went through because of the insurgents. NAIJ.com visited the IDP camp near Abuja to see how children are being treated after their horrible experience.