Displaced Borno Farmer Recounts How He Was Kidnapped by Jihadists

Duna Isah, a 25-year-old displaced Borno State farmer left his home seven years ago after Boko Haram jihadists unleashed terror in his village, Bugushi. Two months ago, he was kidnapped by the same terrorists.

When he was displaced, Isah had nowhere to go, except for an informal Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Maiduguri, the state capital.

For him and his co-IDPs, life is difficult in the camp where they struggled to get food, water and healthcare.

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This forced them to farm amid fear of terror attacks. Unfortunately, Isah was kidnapped alongside four others with whom he had gone to the farm for survival.

“Two months ago at around 12:30 pm, we were at a farm when they (terrorists) came. They asked us who are we and from where we are. I told them we are from Bugushi and they asked us what we do for a living and we told them we are farmers who specialized in beans farming,” Isah said in HumAngle’s weekly podcast, Burbushin Rikici.

“They continued asking us our names and if we have cellphones with us… They looked at our food container to see if there is food inside but it was empty. Immediately eight of them surrounded us and four of them tied our hands,” Isah recalled.

He said they were taken to a forest where the terrorists grilled them afterwards.

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“I left my phone with my wife. They called my phone and my wife spoke to them. They asked her to send them recharge cards so they could call when they wish. They also placed a ransom of N500,00 on each of us and we were four,” he narrated. “They even asked for mobile phone batteries as part of the ransom.”

According to him, spending three days in captivity was a horrific experience for him as they were not fed.

“We neither get food nor water to drink for three days. They kept talking to us about their empire money. They threatened to kill us if the ransom wasn’t paid,” Isah said. “Sometimes they threatened to take us to their camp and forced us to become their members. They said they are doing that for the sake of Allah and that the money they were asking is for them to advance their course.”

Three days after, the terrorists contacted their families and instructed that the ransom should be delivered by females. The villagers selected three women to meet them in the forest.

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Koshi Ibrahim, whose eldest son was abducted, led the women to deliver the ransom. She said the terrorists collected N2 million in ransom and also demanded food items.

“They asked us via the phone if we want to see our sons and relatives again and I told them yes. They then asked us to give them N2 million, Fanke (a local delicacy), phone batteries and food items,” she narrated.

“We gathered the money and cooked the food. They told us where to take the money to. I was terrified seeing them at first. They had long hair and their bodies were huge. They stink and some of them wore army uniforms while others wore black clothes,” she continued.

“I gave them the money and they counted it, they later asked about the Fanke and I gave them. They then asked for mobile phone batteries which I gave them. They were satisfied with what we gave them but they asked us to go back home, saying they will release our relatives later.”

She added: “I asked them what was I going to tell the people that gathered the money and waiting for the release of their relatives, but they told us to go back home and that they will release them the following day.

“But I asked them how sure were they about it and they said they are people of their word, adding they are jihadists and trustworthy. We have no option but to go back home empty-handed.”

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Koshi who said she was afraid of the terrorists, said when they arrived at the agreed venue of ransom collection, the terrorists came with one of the abductees, to show them that they were alive.

She said the abductee looked starved.

However, a day after the villagers paid the ransom, the abducted farmers were released as promised but they trek for two days before getting home.

Since then, the terrorists continue to abduct farmers along the axis. Koshi herself bumped into them a week after she paid ransom for their people and that marks the end of her farming days.


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