A Nigerian teenager has revealed how her family were slaughtered by the Boko Haram insurgents before she was forced to marry one of them, the Daily Mail of UK reported.
Halima, 16, who already has a son called Ali, was seized from her family’s farm after the extremists killed her father and husband before shooting dead her mother.
After fleeing her captors, she now lives in a large refugee camp with her young son and her newborn baby in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State.
Speaking of her plight, Halima said: “They killed my father and husband, then tied my mother to a tree and eventually shot her.
“When they had killed everyone else, they told me to come with them. I resisted, so they threatened me with a gun. They tied my hands and tied me to a tree.
“They told me I would get married to one of them. I told them I never would after they had killed my family. They told me I had no choice. I was married two days later. I didn’t even know who he was. I didn’t even see him during the ceremony.
“From when I was married, all of the other men turned their backs on me as it is forbidden for them to look at another man’s wife.
“The houses were like tents made with thatch. Ali and I were left alone in the house for one week. They gave me food but I didn’t speak to anyone apart from Ali the whole time.
“All I could think was that my family was dead and I had no one. The women were all kept in their tents and no one was allowed to see each other.”
She continued: “Eventually I became pregnant. When I was eight months pregnant came the news that ‘my husband’ had been killed in the fighting, and they brought his clothes to me. Soon after, I heard the sounds of guns and I knew it was the military. Others ran to the bush, but I ran towards them.
“The military were surprised and asked why I didn’t run away. I said I had been waiting for this moment. They gave me bread and water and took me away. Eventually they brought back the other women as well.
“I hadn’t been allowed to leave the house for a whole year before this point. I gave birth in the first place they took me.
‘Apart from what Save the Children gave me, nothing here is mine. Even the cooking pot is borrowed. I need a trade. But at least I have my two children – they make me happy.
“Fatimah is now three months old. Sometimes my breast milk doesn’t flow so I mix sugar in warm water and give that to her. I think about my time with the insurgents a lot. When I see men approach, I get scared, and when I hear loud noises, I’m afraid people are coming for me again.”
The area of Borno and North-East Nigeria has been devastated by conflict and is the heartland of the brutal Boko Haram, the Islamist group responsible for a wave of bombings, assassinations, rapes and abductions as it fights to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state.
The group, which is designated a terrorist organisation by the US, shocked the world in April 2014 when it kidnapped more than 200 girls from Chibok town in Borno State, saying it would treat them as slaves and marry them off. Most are still missing.
But while their case has received international coverage with outraged celebrities and politicians backing campaigns for their release, the tragedy engulfing hundreds of thousands of families and children have gone virtually unnoticed.