Freed Boko Haram bride escapes, joins kingpin husband in Sambisa Forest
A bride of a Boko Haram commander, Aisha, has fled her home in Maiduguri, Borno State.
She also took with her the son fathered by the top kingpin identified as Mamman Nur.
The 25-year-old is one of the 70 women and children who finished a nine-month deradicalisation programme in February.
They had been freed by troops during the raid on the Boko Haram camps in Sambisa forest.
The girl’s sister, Bintu Yerima, disclosed that Aisha packed her clothes and vanished after a phone call.
“Before she left, she had received a phone call from a woman who was with her (in the programme),” 22-year-old Yerima told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“The woman said that she had returned to the Sambisa forest.”
Bintu added that phone calls to Aisha after she disappeared went unanswered, and her mobile has since been switched off.
Thomson Reuters Foundation recalled that Aisha, earlier this year, told its officials that women kidnapped by Boko Haram were given to her as “slaves” because she was married to a leading militant.
Reacting to the development, Fatima Akilu, a psychologist and head of the Neem Foundation, an anti-extremism group, said she received information that some of the women who were under her care, including Aisha, had gone back to Boko Haram.
She observed that some of the girls wanted to go back because they felt at home and powerful there, adding that another reason could be the shame and trauma that comes from the society.
“Rehabilitation, reintegration is a long process, complicated by the fact we have an active, ongoing insurgency,” Akilu said.
“Women often come out successful from deradicalisation programmes, but they struggle in the community. Some face a lot of stigma. They feel like pariahs.”
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