Some of the schoolgirls of Government Secondary School Jangebe who were released by their abductors on Tuesday have shared their harrowing experience while in captivity, saying their abductors threatened to kill them.
The freed pupils, who looked weak, arrived Gusau, the state capital, around 4 am Tuesday morning and were received by Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle; his wife, Aisha, and the heads of security agencies and other top government officials.
One of the freed victims, Hunainatu Abubakar, said the abductors threatened to rape them and also asked the captives to pray for them to be good citizens.
“They ridiculed us, called us many bad names, threatened to kill us and then later, they asked us to pray for them to be good citizens and that we should teach them English so that they could speak.
“We prayed for them but they said they did not have time to learn anything now. They also asked us for those who either came from Kaduna or their parents were police or soldier but those whose parents were security personnel refused to stand up.
“They also threatened to rape us but their leader, Kasalle, warned them against that. They always added sand to our foods and only allowed us to dig for water with our fingers at a drying pond,” she said.
On whether she would continue with her education, Hunainatu said she would go back to Kaduna where she came from and continue at a day school in order to fulfil her dream of becoming a lawyer.
“Some of the bandits even asked if we will marry them but none of us responded and so they said they would be looking for those with big eyes and kill them to which we all lowered our eyes,” she stated.
Asked if she could trace the bandits’ hideout, Hunainatu said: “Though we were taken at night through the back of our school, l believe l can trace the location where we were taken and l can still remember their faces if l see any of them.”
According to her, one of the pupils also saw her father who was kidnapped over three months ago but the man cautioned her against disclosing their relationship to avoid one of them being killed.
She said most of them returned with wounds and swollen legs because they were asked to leave their shoes on the day of the kidnap and that they slept in the open while in captivity.
According to her, they also went into hiding along with the criminals when they heard the sounds of helicopters on search-and-rescue mission.
Another victim, Hafsat Anka, stated that their abductors threatened to kill, fry and eat them if they misbehaved.
Hafsat said they trekked over a long distance from the school before they reached their destination.
“There was no clean water or good food, and we felt we had already spent years even though it was our first day and the bandits kept firing into the air to scare us.
“They were very young boys with one elder they called Kasalle or Yaya who gave them instructions, and he was the one that stopped them from touching any of us,” Hafsat stated.
According to her, the bandits wore military uniforms and claimed they defeated the security officials by invading the school and successfully abducting them.
Another victim, Hafsatu Hamza, said: “They kept us in a deep hole littered with excreta. That’s where we live and sleep. We were earnestly praying and waiting on God. Those that abducted us are Hausa men, and they are Muslims. They do pray but they do not allow us to pray.”
Hafsatu, an SSS 2 pupil, added: “They took us along mountainous paths and trees asking us to run. We ran to the extent our legs sustained bruises and some even had dislocations. They asked me to remove my head tie for them to tie my leg with but l refused. They even threatened to cut off my leg and kill me but l still insisted.”
Another student, 14-year-old Amina Sogiji, while narrating her ordeal said: “The day we were kidnapped, we walked through the forest from 2.30 am till around 7 pm to the thicker forest where the bandits hide us in a deep hole located in the forest.
“We suffered so much in the hands of the kidnappers. I have never experienced such in my life. In fact, I thought I was dreaming because the torture was too much for us. I am happy now that we have been freed. We thank our governor and security agencies.”
Meanwhile, one of the parents, Mr. Jamailu Sanda, who could not hold his tears when he saw his daughter, said the trauma he had was indescribable because he could not eat, sleep nor think right.
Another parent, Mrs. Shemsiya Muhammed, and mother of Rabiatu Muhammed, who expressed her happiness for their daughter’s release, told THISDAY that the experience of knowing that a child is kidnapped is traumatic and can lead to one’s death.
One of the teachers, Mrs. Rashidat Balogun, also spoke to ARISE NEWS Channels to share her experience during the night raid by the bandits.