Wednesday, May 18, 2016

They miss you when you are gone

But when you return after having been kidnapped by that fun loving crew at Boko Haram, then all of a sudden you are a piece of shit to be shunned and abused. No matter what your family and friends may have said while you were held, when you get back you have Boko cooties.
After being held captive by Boko Haram for months, they made it to this government camp for thousands of civilians who have fled the militants’ cruelty. But instead of a welcome, residents gathered around, badgering them with questions and glares.

They beat her 10-year-old brother, convinced that anyone who has spent time among the militants, even a young kidnapping victim, could have become a sympathizer, possibly even a suicide bomber.

Zara, in fact, was hiding a dangerous secret strapped to her back: her baby. The child’s father was a Boko Haram fighter who had raped her, but Zara knew the crowd would still doubt her loyalties. So she quickly spun a tale that the militants had killed her husband, leaving her a young, widowed mother.

“If they knew my baby was from an insurgent, they wouldn’t allow us to stay,” said Zara, whose full name was not used, to protect her safety. “They’ll never forget who her father is, just like a leopard never forgets its spots.”

In northeastern Nigeria, the years of suffering under Boko Haram have upended the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, stealing something — or everything — from countless families.

Now, a deep suspicion is raging against anyone who has lived alongside the group — even girls who were held hostage, repeatedly raped and left to raise infants fathered by their tormentors.

Much of the anger stems from fear. Boko Haram has used dozens of women and girls — many not even in their teens — as suicide bombers in recent months, killing hundreds of people in attacks on places like markets and schools. Girls have even been sent to blow themselves up in a camp like this one.
Boko Haram is the distilled essence of all that is evil in religion and sadly any period of association with it leaves a stain on you in the eyes of those who knew you before.


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