Kidnapped by Boko Haram


In April 2014, the extremist group Boko Haram erupted into the media headlights when it kidnapped 276 schoolgirls. A brilliant year 9 student, Aichatou followed Boko Haram's crimes on the Internet: "I saw the video where they showed the kidnapped schoolgirls of Chibok. I said to myself I was certain to suffer the same fate."

On 24 November 2014, her life fell appart when the fundamentalists seized Damask, her home town in North-East Nigeria. At 9 a.m., shots rang out. Aichatou's mother hurried to her daughter's school, knowing that the soldiers were there to take the young, pretty students. They both took shelter with her sister and brother-in-law, the latter considered one of the sages of the village. The gamble paid off and the two women were safe for the night. They had to escape and try to reach Niger - but one by one they were caught in an ambush during wich Boko Haram captured 400 women and children in Damask. 

In this book Aichatou recounts how she was taken the fundamentalists to a house where, with forty other young girls, they made them wear clothing more "fitting" to Islam, engage in intense study of the Koran and do housework. The girls endured this regime for three weeks until the day were delivered over to their respective "husbands". Aichatou's spouse was as old as her father. She had left one prison for another. 

Aichatou has made herself follow the rules meekly so as to avoid all trouble but inside herself she refused to submit. Her compliance earned her a few minutes freedom in which she went for a walk with four of her friends - an opportunity to flee, cross the border into Niger and return to her family, who had previously escaped there. 

Author: 

Aichatou is Nigerian and she is 14 years old. At the end of 2014, she was held prisoner for 45 days by the extremist group Boko Haram, married by force and raped. Mina Kaci is a journalist for l'Humanité

 

Publication date: January 2016

Pages: 250

Rights available: world

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