Christina Ijabla was kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria two years ago and managed to escape from a prison camp about a month ago. She spoke to DW about her life in captivity and the fate of the Chibok girls.
Twenty-year-old Christina Ijabla was kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria two years ago and managed to escape from a prison camp about a month ago. She spoke to DW about her life in captivity and the fate of the Chibok girls who were kidnapped in April 2014.
The students from Chibok were held in the Nigerian village of Kago in the Sambisa Forest near Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, Ijabla said, adding: "We saw them once, but we were told to keep out of their way. They were given special treatment. Some had been married off to Boko Haram commanders, but most of the girls, as far as I could see, were still together as a group."
Ijabla said that "they had been held previously in Gwoza. Three of the girls were killed in an aerial attack by the Nigerian military." In an audio message to his fighters, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau suggested negotiations with the Nigerian government over the possible release of the Chibok girls, Ijabla said.
On her kidnapping experience with several other girls in her hometown Madagali, Ijabla said: "I remember hearing gunfire and everybody started to run away. It was chaos. Suddenly five men appeared, blocking our way. They showed no mercy. They took us to a house in Madagali where we were held as prisoners."
Ijabla spoke about rape and violence: "About a year ago, the fighters took us to the Sambisa Forest. They tried to coerce us into marriage. We refused and they became even more violent. They blindfolded one of the girls and shot her before our very eyes. Then we did what they asked."
"We had to sleep under trees. There were no houses. There are many small camps where women and children are being held. There is only maize to eat," Ijabla said.
The example of two girls who managed to escape from the camp gave Ijabla the courage to run away too. She now lives with her uncle's family and is expecting a child conceived while in captivity. So far she has received no welfare assistance from the Nigerian government. "You can only really rely on your own family," Ijabla said.
Deutsche Welle has an extensive network of freelance radio correspondents in West and Central Africa. Two German DW journalists have been reporting from Lagos, Nigeria since 2014.