Abductees in new video beg govt to negotiate with insurgents

Boko Haram on Monday released a video showing some women abducted by the insurgents last month.

In the video published by Sahara Reporters, the women pleaded with the Nigerian government to negotiate with the terrorists for their release.

The women are believed to be among 14 others abducted when the gunmen ambushed a convoy travelling under military escort along the Biu road in Borno State.

The 4:35 minutes video footage featured a hooded Boko Haram member introducing the women and thereafter asked two of them to deliver their messages to the Nigerian government.

The video showed about 10 of the women who appeared traumatized but well kept.

A large convoy travelling from Maiduguri to Damboa under a military escort was ambushed on June 20 by Boko Haram gunmen some 31 kilometres from the State capital, Maiduguri.

Some of the travellers, including a police officer and a soldier, were killed in the ambush.

Although the Borno State Police Command confirmed the attack, it refused to reveal the number of those taken away by the attackers.

A few days after the ambush, Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, release a short video in which he claimed that his fighters had seized more than a dozen women and “senior police officers” in the ambush. Shekau boasted that the abducted women had become his “slaves”.

Monday’s video came on the same day elders of Askira Uba Local Government Area of Borno State held a press conference in Maiduguri to urge the government to secure the release of 14 women abducted from their community.

The elders said the women were seized even though they were travelling in a police vehicle to attend a ceremony.

The abducted women are relatives of a deceased police woman whose corpse was being conveyed for burial when their convoy was attacked.

The elders lamented “the disturbing silence of the government” over the fate of the missing women.

In the Boko Haram video footage, one of the abducted women who introduced herself as Deborah Philemon, said their captors had been very nice to them, although it appeared she had been rehearsed by her captors for the speech.

“My name is Deborah Philemon. What I want to tell the people of Nigeria is that in all honesty, you (Boko Haram) have been taking good care of us since the time you picked us to this place, you have been providing care to those that were wounded.

“We have never been hungry for a single day; you give us water and all that we need to feed with. The government of Nigeria should not deny that we have been kidnapped; we are kidnapped and here we are. We thank you people that have been taking good care of us.”

After the speech by Philemon, some of the women were shown sobbing as the Boko Haram gunman standing in front of them directed the next woman to make her speech.

Introducing herself as Amina Adam Gambiya, the woman, who appeared to be in her 50s, said she is a staff of the Federal College of Fresh Water Fishery, Baga.

“My name is Amina Adam Gambiya. I am a staff of Federal College of Fresh Water Fishery, Baga. I am a lecturer. We want the government to know that among us are government workers, some are not. We are all humans. We want government to come to our rescue the way they did to the Chibok schoolgirls; government should not abandon us, because we are all citizens.

“This happened to me when I was on my way traveling. So, on behalf of all the women here, both those that are federal government workers and those that are not, the government should do the needful just as it did to the Chibok schoolgirls so that we could be freed.

“Among the women here, there are some five of us that are breadwinners of their families. No one should doubt that we are abducted. Here we are; it is clear that we have been abducted for nearly 30 days. We beg you to do all that is best to come and release us; we are in distress here.”

The video ended abruptly after the speech by Mrs. Gombiya.

On Monday afternoon, elders of Askira Uba Local Government Area informed journalists at their press conference that the 14 women in the custody of Boko Haram were their wives and daughters.

They said they were worried that nothing had been done by the police and other security agencies to rescue the women since their abduction, despite entreaties made by individuals and officials of the local government council.

“Till date the security agencies are still silent on this burning issue,” said the elders led by Madu Bukar, a former chairman of the governing council of the Federal College of Education (Technical), Potiskum.

“We the parents, husbands, relations and indeed entire Margi community of Askira Uba Local Government Area are now in trauma waiting anxiously to know why we are being treated like that,” Mr. Bukar said for the group.

He said they had written an open letter to the Acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, and petitioned the Inspector-General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, for redress.


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