About 3,000 families were said to have fled Ashigashiya, Ngoshe and Gava villages around Gwoza local government area of Borno, northeast Nigeria when Nigerian military on clearance operation fought Boko Haram militants on Tuesday to liberate the areas.
Arriving Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, Nuhu Diya, who was among the over 10,000 people held hostage at ‘Bayan Dutse’ told DAILY POST that he witnessed the killing of 466 people who refused to convert to Islam as well as over 218 marriages of innocent victims to Boko Haram fighters who forcefully took them as wives.
He also said that more than 192 died as a result of hunger-related sickness, adding that there are thousands of people still trapped in the ‘Bayan Dutse’ axis and are in need of serious help.
On how he survived, he told our correspondent that after being converted to Islam, the estimated 620 families were allowed to move freely. “We go about to look for food unlike others who were trapped in Ashigashiya before the Cameroonian soldiers came to save them.”
While narrating his ordeal, Diya said, “We ran to Maiduguri, when the militants took over Gwoza and turned it to their National Headquarters (Caliphate), six months after the election, government asked us to return home that our areas have been liberated. When we eventually go home about four months ago, we do not know that we were going into trap. At first we also thought that, the area was truly liberated until one month after our arrival.
“The Boko Haram were all along in the mountains area, and one evening they came down and pursue the soldiers and took control. They ask Christians to go to one side and Muslims to the other side. They asked us if we want to convert, and some of us refused. We that accepted to convert were asked to join with other Muslims and the rest of them about 466 when we counted were shot and killed before our very eyes.
“They also asked our girls who were between 15 and 30 to marry them. Those who refused were killed while those who accepted took husbands from amongst them. Many of our people are still trap in the mountains and there is no food.”
Asked if he is still a Muslim after being converted, he said, ” I was never a Muslim in my heart. I know that I did not get converted out of my own free will. Those that refused to be converted were shot death before our eyes. I could have been killed too. May be I was given opportunity to repent.”
Speaking on how he sees the ongoing fight in the Northeast, he said, ” I am back to Maiduguri again as a result of the withdrawal of the militants after a fight with soldiers. If I stay back I know that they will come back again. Moreover, there is hunger and people are being killed every day. I don’t think I can go back to Gwoza again after what I have seen with my eyes.”
(Via – Uncova)