Boko Haram Survivors: They 'Started Stoning Us'

Women were followed to the bathroom, not allowed 'to move an inch'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2015 6:30 AM CDT
Boko Haram Survivors: 'Every Day We Witnessed Death'
Children rescued by Nigeria soldiers from captivity from Islamist extremists at Sambisa forest arrive at a camp in Yola, Nigeria, Saturday May. 2, 2015.   (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Almost 700 women and children are finally free from Boko Haram militants after Nigerian army rescue operations last week, and their stories are beginning to emerge. Survivors describe men and older boys being murdered while families watched, Reuters reports. Then women and other children were taken into the forest. "Every day we witnessed the death of one of us and waited for our turn," says a 24-year-old mother. Another captive explains that the militants "didn't allow us to move an inch … If you needed the toilet, they followed you," she says. "We were under bondage." Adds another: "We were fed only ground dry maize in the afternoons. It was not good for human consumption," she notes.

The horrors temporarily worsened when the army approached: "When we saw the soldiers, we raised our hands and shouted for help," says the 24-year-old. "Boko Haram, who were guarding us, started stoning us so we would follow them to another hideout, but we refused because we were sure the soldiers would rescue us." An unclear number of captives were killed as stones were thrown, the women say, per the BBC. The army had trouble distinguishing victims from militants, says another released captive, noting that some captives were run over by army vehicles. And "even after our rescue, about 10 died on our way to this place," a refugee camp in Yola, eastern Nigeria, adds another survivor. (More Boko Haram stories.)

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