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17-Year Old ‘Aminata’ tells her Heartbreaking Story of being Kidnapped & held for Two Years by Boko Haram



CAAFAGHandsTwo years ago a 15-year old ‘Aminata’ was taken by Boko Haram against her will and forced to marry an insurgent. She had no choice but to live with the insurgents, for two years, until she finally managed to escape. She is now an internally displaced person (IDP) living in one of many camps established in north-eastern Nigeria and in this interview with UNICEF’s Kent Page, ‘Aminata’ shares her heartbreaking story of suffering and fear while she was held captive.

According to UNICEF, more than 7,000 women and girls have been held and subjected to violence by Boko Haram. Most are believed to have been raped or forcibly ‘married’ to their captors, and many, like Aminata, became pregnant as a result.

Read the story of ‘Aminata’ below.

I came in contact with Boko Haram insurgents in my hometown in Borno State, north-eastern Nigeria. They saw me at my uncle’s house during their first attack on our town. I have lived with my uncle since I was two years old. My biological father and family live in Cameroon.

Boko Haram invaded the town and convinced my uncle to join them. They also asked if there were any girls in his compound. They offered 1,000 naira for each girl.

I was sitting next to my grandmother when they dragged me to a car. They took me to an unknown location outside my town. They had taken me and another 14 girls from my neighbourhood. I was held there for two months and then I was forced to marry one of the insurgents. Before you marry an insurgent, you are a maid. You wash plates and cook for the insurgents. But when you get married, you become a wife and also focus on only him.

The ‘wedding’ had nothing. There was no clothing, no lotions, no creams, no presents. It was just in my old clothes that I went to the house of my ‘husband’, which was just a hut with a room in it. That was where we lived. And every time he wanted to have sex I refused, and then he would rape me and beat me up. I cannot count the number of times he has beaten me.

I lived there with the armed group for two years. It was a very bad experience. I have witnessed terrible things, including the slaughtering of women in a town by the insurgents. They killed women who refused to marry them. Once they caught someone who had married another wife without telling them. They buried him up to his head in the ground. Then they stoned his head until he died. It was a public punishment that we were forced to watch.

In some villages, when they attack, they steal cattle and sell it off before feeding their wives and children. We didn’t ever have enough food. And any food we did get, didn’t have any condiments. The insurgents have to steal food from villages or attack villages before we eat. They don’t have any food.

My insurgent ‘husband’ had three wives before me who had become suicide bombers. But he decided he wanted me to remain as his ‘wife’. But two weeks later, he married another wife. I was very scared.

My ‘husband’ told me that if he decides or wants to, he will send me and my co-wife to town as suicide bombers. I was so scared. Three days after that, I told one of the women that I was going to a nearby village to visit my grandmother.  My ‘husband’ gave me three days for the visit.

I was with my grandmother in that village when the military arrived to fight the insurgents. After the fighting, the military took me with them to Bama. I was in Bama with the military for a month before I was brought here. My uncle and his brothers are still with the insurgents, and I have seen them carry out terrible acts, including killing people.

I really miss my family, and I wish I could see them again. We have been separated for too long. They live in Cameroon. I sincerely hope that everyone who has been taken like me can leave Boko Haram and be reintegrated back into society. My co-wife used to tell me to stop thinking about my parents, but she also said, “Don’t worry, you will find them one day.” I hope it is true.

I have been living as an IDP here in this camp for four months. I am pregnant. When I discovered I was pregnant, I was so unhappy, because it was my ‘husband’ who did it. The pregnancy is very difficult for me. But people here in the camp have been kind. People ask me how I escaped, and when I tell them, they say “Thank God you escaped!”

It is good, because although people know I was with the insurgents, so far no one has treated me badly. I live with people from my LGA [local government area] here in the camp, and they understand and treat me well. They have been very supportive. I only have a craving for certain foods which I cannot get here, and to see my family.

I hope to get married one day in the future. And to start a business. But, because I have never been in school, I cannot start doing that now, unfortunately. I also want villagers who had to flee the conflict to remain here for a little while and not rush back to their towns and villages to resettle. We suffered there tremendously.

But I am still happy. I am extremely happy I am no longer with the insurgents. I want to thank all the people who have helped me. All I want now is to see my family again.


UNICEF, in collaboration with International Alert, provides psychosocial support for girls and women who have experienced sexual violence, and for children born as a result. UNICEF also provides psychosocial support for children and families affected by conflict in Nigeria, including through child-friendly spaces, psychosocial training of teachers, and education, in protective and safe learning environments, for children like Aminata.

Read more about it here.

Source & Photo Credit: UNICEF


  1. queenbee

    October 22, 2016 at 2:57 am

    So Americans could find saddam hussein in a hole. had money for Syria attacks. literally throws its weight around evey argument that did not concern them worldwide. But could not help to establish where 200something girls were moved from in tiny villages. like really? Michelle Obama holding up a sign is pretty much where their efforts went. What an investment. A whole twitter retweet and famous sign. i wont even mention the pathetic performance of the Nigerian government which has access to billions when it wants to reward its good friends folurnsho otedola and co but could not find 200 girls displaced from a tiny village. God is watching all of you. You cant say you believe in God and yet you close eye at your own most vulnerable when they are in despair. Anyone in influential position that is sitting there praising God whilst these things happen….God is not asleep.

    • TeeS

      October 22, 2016 at 4:13 am

      But it is not Americas job to come find Boko haram or find the missing 200 girls. It is nNigerias job. The US was not created to help the world. It’s sad but is the truth. The US only help when they have something to gain,(most times) and it didn’t look like Nigeria had anything to offer.
      Like you said, God is watching all of us as we sit back and watch all the horrors unfolding and doing nothing about it.

    • ...just saying

      October 22, 2016 at 6:41 am

      That’s the problme when ignorant people do not read the actual news and only live on blogs. Did you read the interview by the American Ambassador to Nigeria? And even British high commissioner? Jonathan did not want their help and they couldn’t do anything. Nigeria is a savereign land.

    • Tee

      October 22, 2016 at 10:13 am

      The US, U.K., France and China offered assistance. I remember when intelligence teams from both the US and Uk visited 9ja to offer assistance. Johnathan’s administration successfully allowed pride and incompetence get in the way. They reportedthat 9ja didn’t accept the help. what do you expect them to do forcefully take charge of rescue efforts? Please do your research next time

    • truthie

      October 22, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      continue waiting for america oh,
      we dont have food…. america
      we don’t have money…. america
      boko haram is killing us…. america come oh
      It’s America’s fault that your leaders stole the money that was to be used to fight them
      every penny of it was looted
      and the people who looted have not been sentenced to life imprisonment
      how on earth will america take y’all serious?

    • Sitta Luvz

      October 22, 2016 at 9:01 pm

      You better speak, thats why I haven’t shared any of these propaganda videos. How could they not locate 200 people, 200 is not 2, 200 ants see can be spotted on the ground but you can’t locate 200 women….I’ll wait.

  2. jennietobbie

    October 22, 2016 at 3:09 am

    15 years old??? I can’t. even. begin. to. imagine what this girl has been through. I CAN’T. This life is not a fair playing ground at all…

  3. Lo

    October 22, 2016 at 6:14 am

    An unspeakably horrible ordeal. Thank God she survived. Praying for those still in the clutches of those monsters. They have been let down for too long. May help come their way fast.

  4. True Talk

    October 22, 2016 at 11:14 am

    My question is this is it impossible for F.G.N to put up block houses like dormitories with good toilet facilities, good water supply, electricity for these IDPS? Each time I see where they are kept my heart bleeds..Many of them have died of cholera as we heard. Please help these unfortunate ones. they committed no sin why are they suffering so much, Those who stole billions when arrested are kept in air conditioned rooms and given good food.. Buhari please you are the number one person in Nigeria come to their aid. Welldone for what you have done please do more.

    • o

      October 22, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      Sadly some people are stealing the money meant for the IDP camps. Siphoning it. Still the same corruption demon

  5. Great Lady

    October 22, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Very touching and sad. I can’t even imagine the trauma she went through.

  6. Corolla

    October 22, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    This is so heartbreaking.

  7. Prince

    October 22, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    God will help us and perfect the great work he has began. If you’ve never visit any of the affected states, you might not be able to grasp the impact of those bastards.
    Imagine, giving out a girl for just 1,000naira, raping her and not giving them good food.

  8. zeebabe

    October 22, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Honestly, may God have mercy upon me but this is the time when I will boldly supppport abortions. This young girl went thru this for 2 years and now she’s saddled with an unwanted pregnancy? How will the memories of her pain ever be erased?

  9. nikky

    October 22, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    $2.2 billion to fight Book Haram and what do we have to show for it? Nothing but horror stories like this. Dansuki and his friends embezzled money ment to fight the terrorists and we are here feeling sorry instead of outraged.

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