Friday, 12 September 2014
You all have read about me. You know my story. You have heard various versions of how strange men bombarded our school; commando style and stole us like common rams while we screamed helplessly. What you don't know though is that since the 28th of April I have stopped living.
Four days before then they threw us in the back of a van and drove far into the night for what seemed like eternity. As we had all been blindfolded, it was difficult knowing who had been unlucky enough to share in this fate. Our abductors had sworn to punish us with instant death if we cried too much.
We must have travelled for more four hours when the van carrying us eventually pulled up and several footsteps began to head in our direction as if in anticipation of our arrival. We were hurriedly herded out like sheep and I was locked in a tiny room without windows and with a pit latrine right in the middle! I cried my eyes out till I ran out of tears and my head hurt. I later discovered my room mates to be two other girls, Rakiya and Deborah.
Deborah's case was particularly sad as she actually had no business in our school that evening. There was a woman who sold mouth watering Tuwo Shinkafa right by our school gate and every evening would slash her prices in half to attract young children going home from their parents farms. Deborah had been lured by her Tuwo when the beasts struck!
We were fed once a day with half cooked millet and water and weren't allowed to step outside. On the fourth day of our abduction, our jailer Rago, as we'd named him (as he bore no small resemblance to a ram) threw the door open and looked at me pointedly.
"You! Come here". He barked
My heart sank as I managed to stand.
He blindfolded me and and placed the end of a stick in my palm with which he led me out. After walking a few minutes we seemed to enter into an open space. My blindfold was removed and for the first time since we left Chibok I saw sunlight! We were in a large field and I looked up to see the familiar faces of Maimuna, Laraba, Hadiza, Mairo, Bintu and several of my other school mates, and for the first time in what seemed like eternity I felt a well of hope spring up within. We all hugged each other tearfully.
Alhamdullilahi! We were about to be set free.....or so we thought!
A stern looking man wearing a military like uniform and a red and white turban abruptly cut short our cries of joy as he cautioned us to keep quiet. Rago soon reappeared with three men in tow. We were asked to sit quietly and prepare for a video shoot as the stern looking man told us with a hint of sarcasm, that we would soon be as famous as Amitabh Bachan the famous Indian actor. We exchanged bewildered glances amongst ourselves.
One of the men held up a script while the other two began operating a little contraption which I guessed was a video camera. The stern looking man then began to read from the script. He spoke many wicked words laced with threats and would occasionally punctuate his speech with a wicked laugh. The other two men intermittently beamed their camera in our direction.
This Bollywood movie lasted about thirty minutes before we were once more blindfolded, by which time the sun had begun to go down.
A feeling of hopelessness was immediately palpable as it dawned on us we were not about to see Chibok anytime soon.
Rago again put the tip of a stick in my palm and began to lead me back. This time, we seemed to pass a different route laden with shrubs, as i stumbled on a few occasions. I was just beginning to adjust to this new topography when my guide stopped suddenly I began to hear voices around and at that moment I instinctively knew danger was lurking.
Rago snatched the stick from my hand and almost instantly, I sensed a swift motion of his arm. The next thing I felt was a hot slap on my left cheek. Millions of stars flashed before my eyes as I collapsed with a scream. As I tried to get up he proceeded to shove me roughly back on the ground. By this time my blindfold and hijab had come off and I saw the three men from our video session on the field smiling leeringly. Rago pulled out a dagger and tore my dress in half right in the middle as he began to pull his trousers down. I begged and pleaded as the reality of what was about to happen sunk in, but they wouldn't listen. From that moment everything seemed to happen in slow motion.
You know how they say your life flashes in front of you just before you die? Well mine must gave flashed a million times. I kicked and screamed and tried to scratch back, but one of the other men held me down as I felt Rago's thrust against my body and one by one they began to have their way with me.
I closed my eyes and wished for death to take me away.
With tattered clothes <strong><strong>and blood dripping down my legs I mustered all the strength I had left and walked through the night in the direction of the sun. Our Geography teacher had taught us that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. I figured if I followed the sun, it would lead me in the opposite direction from the moon, which was in the direction where the bastards had violated me, so I walked till my legs hurt, but I kept walking.
I woke up at the General Hospital in Damaturu two days later. I was told some herdsmen had found me lying unconscious on a farm. I don't remember being on a farm though and I don't remember why the bastards let me go. The truth is I don't remember a lot of things anymore, because that day, I died.
My name is Aisha. I am Yesmin's best friend.
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