Total freedom has come for 158 women and children abducted last year by Boko Haram gunmen in Yobe State after spending three weeks in captivity.
They were abducted in Katarko town of Gujba Local Government Area of the Yobe state, a distance of 22 kilometres south of Damaturu, the state capital.
According to THEWILL, though they were released from captivity last month, they were finally re-united with their family members on Thursday after security operatives took them through a process of psychological healing and counseling before being handed over to the state government.
Recounting their experience while in captivity, they expressed appreciation for the efforts towards ensuring that they start up a normal life after going through distress for over three weeks.
One of the abducted women, Hauwa Mohammed, said: “They (the insurgents) did not maltreat us during our captivity for three weeks. We had enough food and drinks all through our stay in captivity. Any time they entered our apartment to preach their ideologies to us, they asked us to avoid looking at them.
“They always criticised us as pagans. When they were releasing us, they asked us to prepare and join those pagans in the town. We thank God that we have been reunited with our family members after three weeks of being in captivity.”
Another woman, Gambo Mohammed, said: “We told them we will not practice their style of religion, so they agreed to release us, saying we should go and join the pagans who have the symbol of Green-White-Green flag in Nigeria . They said they will “meet with you people one day.” We then told them we will join the pagans instead.
“They often provide raw food items to us and we do cook them ourselves. They do give us soaps, perfume and any other basic needs you can think about. It’s only God that released us in the hands of this dreaded militants.”
The chairman of the state committee on rehabilitation and resettlement of insurgency victims, Barrister Ahmed Goneri, while presenting the victims to their family members listed the 158 victims to include 62 adults and 96 children.
According to Goneri, of the 62 adults, 15 are now widows because of the attack on the town, adding that the adults will be given two bags of rice, sugar, cartoons of noodles and a bag of salt as well as two sets of wrappers.
He also revealed that those who lost their husbands in the attack will be given N50,000 as support while others will be given N30,000 to help them start up life again.
He expressed gratitude to the Yobe State government and security operatives for the gesture and all the measures taken towards ensuring that the abductees are safe and healthy
The chairman of Gujba Local Government, Alhaji Kyari Batarama, also appreciated the support towards the return of the abducted persons.
Mallam Abdulrahaman Dauda, who discovered the released detainees in Kasaisa village on the outskirts of Damaturu said they were in serious trauma when he saw them.
“Thank God that they have seen their families members and hope the remaining ones will also be released by the abductors,” he said.
“These are wives of some people which God has rescued in the hands of the Boko Haram militants. A friend saw them in Kasaisa village and called to tell me. So, I used a truck to convey all of them and handed them over to security agents for further verification. I thank the security agents and the Yobe State Government for all the support. When I saw them, they were all out of their senses having gone through severe trauma after being held hostage for three weeks.”