Her voice breaking as she recounted the nightmare

The Guardian reports that the families of the enslaved schoolgirls are losing hope.

Hamma Balumai, a farmer whose 16-year-old daughter Hauwa was snatched, pooled his savings with other parents and ventured on a two-day trek into the forest this week. “Even my wife was begging to come as she is so disturbed she hasn’t been able to eat anything. Our daughter Hauwa is only 16 years old and she has been missing for 11 days now,” he told the Guardian.

The parents turned around only after being warned by communities in the forest that their rag-tag group, armed with machetes and knives, would be gunned down by the militants, who wield sophisticated weapons.

The ones who escaped are struggling too.

Godiya Usman, an 18-year-old finalist who jumped off the back of the truck, said she feels trapped by survivor’s guilt. She and her cousin huddled together as the insurgents stormed into their dorm room. “When my cousin Lami started crying, one of them pointed a gun to my head and said if she didn’t stop, he would shoot both of us. I held her and told her we had to just follow their instructions, but I was so scared I could barely even whisper the words.”

She began to panic as her cousin could not stop crying as they drove into the night. “They drove us into the forest and each time we got to a village, they stopped and started shooting and killing people and burning their houses. I told the girls in my truck that when we got to another village and they were busy attacking, we should all jump down and run into the forest.”

But the other girls, terrified by the dozens of armed men, were unable to keep to the plan. “When we got to another village, they started shooting. I jumped down and I was expecting my friends to jump too, but they didn’t. I just started crying and running into the bush,” Usman said, her voice breaking as she recounted the nightmare.

Hours later, she stumbled upon a group of other parents and local youths who were searching for the girls in the forest.

Is this a “fake”? I hardly think so. I hardly think Monica Mark would write all that if it were fake.


  1. Gordon Willis says

    Why should it be a fake? Godiya did what she thought was right. If the other children didn’t follow, it was perhaps because of fear of being caught, or fear of doing the “wrong” thing — and they’re not different things. Terror for your life, fear of doing wrong, the belief that the grownups must be right — or why are they doing this? Any way to explain the outrageous: these are the stuff of childhood. Godiya may be an exception, but she isn’t an unusual exception, if you take my meaning. Nevertheless, she was on her own: one person with a critical mind and the courage to act, and not enough maturity to understand that others might not follow. I wish she would not feel guilty. She did only what she could.

  2. Gordon Willis says

    I know you don’t, Ophelia. I couldn’t help but respond to the suggestion that it is. Just wait for the nasty sickos to start. You know and I know that they will. Any chance to oppress is good news for the ego.

  3. Gordon Willis says

    For “suggestion” read “fear”. That would be more accurate, I think.

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