How Notorious Kidnappers Escaped From Kuje Prisons

Two notorious kidnappers who abducted and killed a society lady, Mrs. Edith Chinedu Aliyu, have escaped from the Medium Prisons, Kuje, Abuja, in a daring jailbreak on Friday evening. This is as some prisoners rioted over the sharing of alcohol in the Kirikiri Female Prison in Lagos.

It was gathered that the two Kuje inmates, Maxwell Ajukwu and Solomon Amodu, used a plank to scale the high wall of the prisons while Muslim inmates were breaking their Ramadan fast at 7pm.

Our correspondent gathered that the two escapees were part of a gang who abducted the lady and killed her after raping her.

The daring escape set off reports that the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, Charles Okah, had escaped from the Kuje Prisons, but the Prisons Public Relations Officer, Francis Enobore, described these as untrue.

Our correspondent gathered that one of the escaped inmates, Ajukwu, converted to Islam some weeks ago, apparently to exploit the lax security system in the prisons during the ongoing Ramadan fast.

A security source said, “The two kidnapping suspects escaped and left their colleague behind. What happened was that one of them, from the South-East, converted to Islam some weeks ago while in prison when he observed that the prison officers allowed Muslim inmates to stay late against standard prisons rules.

“Normally, the inmates are locked up in their cells by 5pm every day, but the prison authorities decided to extend the time till 8pm to enable the inmates break their fast and pray.

“Preliminary findings show that the two inmates escaped at a point near the chapel in the prisons, which was usually guarded by a prison officer, but he (the officer) did not come to work on Friday and nobody was posted to secure the place.”

Meanwhile, another source, a top prison official, who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH on condition of anonymity, said the Kuje inmates exploited a “weakness” in the prison system.

He said, “Normally, inmates are not supposed to be outside beyond 6pm to 6.30pm daily. But the officer in charge of that prison, who takes money from the inmates, allows them stay till 9pm or 10pm.

“What happened was that some of the inmates, who had studied the lapses, decided to use them to plot their escape when it was dark. After they finished breaking their fast on Friday, they put up a ladder on the wall and jumped out. They had fled before the management noticed.”

Credit: Punch

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10 Girls Reportedly Escaped From Sambisa, But Only Three Found, Two Unconscious

As the news of the rescue of two of the Chibok girls abducted by members of the Boko Haram insurgents group continues to permeate the media space, there are indications that 10 of the girls actually escaped from the enclave of the Boko Haram group in Sambisa forest.

According to The Guardian, “Unconfirmed reports said 10 of the girls actually escaped from the Sambisa forest and three of them were found.”

The report quoting a reliable source however said “two of the three girls were half-conscious,” and that it was the ‘conscious girl’ that disclosed the fact that 10 of the Chibok girls escaped the Sambisa Forest.

It is also unclear if the three escaped girls are inclusive of Amina Ali Nkeki, one of the over 200 abducted schoolgirls who was reportedly rescued in the Sambisa Forest, close to the border with Cameroun on Tuesday.

If Amina’s rescue is different from the three others reportedly found, it means there may be two other girls that their rescue is yet to be disclosed by the army, especially since they are said to be unconscious.

Speaking on the rescue of the second Chibok girl, Serah Luka, army spokesman, Col Sani Usman, said troops of 231 Battalion, 331 Artillery Regiment (AR), Detachment of Armed Forces Special Forces (AFSF) 2, Explosive Ordinance (EOD) Team and Civilian Vigilante group conducted clearance operations at Shettima Aboh, Hong and Biladdili general area in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State.

According to the statement, “During the operations, the troops killed 35 Boko Haram terrorists and recovered several arms and ammunitions and other items. In addition, they rescued 97 women and children held captives by the Boko Haram terrorists.

“We are glad to state that among those rescued is a girl believed to be one of the Chibok Government Secondary School girls that were abducted on 14th April 2014 by the Boko Haram terrorists. Her name is  Miss  Serah Luka, who is number 157 on the list of the abducted school girls. She is believed to be the daughter of Pastor Luka..

“She added that there were other three girls who fled Shettima Aboh when the troops invaded the area earlier today (Thursday), which led  to their rescue.  She is presently receiving medical attention at the medical facility of Abogo Largema Cantonment, Biu, Borno State.”

The Army said the girl revealed during the debriefing that she was a JSS1 student of the school at the time they were abducted. She further added that she hails from Madagali, Adamawa State, saying that she reported at the school barely two months and one week before her unfortunate abduction along with other girls over two years ago.

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“It Was By The Will Of God That I Escaped From Shiite Sect Members” – Buratai

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Monday said it was God that saved him from the hands of Shiite sect members during his encounter with them at the weekend.

The Army Chief described the sect members as violent in their conduct during his encounter.

Buratai spoke with reporters in Abuja shortly after an interactive session with members of the Senate Committee on Defence.

A clash ensued on Saturday in Zaria, Kaduna State, between Shiite adherents and the convoy of the Army chief.

Several people were killed in the incident.

Buratai said, “You want to know how I escaped? It was by the will of God that I was able to escape from that place.

“I think NTA was there and they aired the clip. It was very clear. They were violent, definitely this is very clear, the clips are there. That was what happened.”

The Army Chief, who urged Nigerians to be law abiding, insisted that “nobody should take the law into his hands.”

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How I Escaped Orkar’s Coup – Ibrahim Babangida … Says He Still Misses Abiola

Ahead of his 74th birthday today, erstwhile military president, General Ibrahim Babangida had an interactive session with journalists in Minna, Niger State. In the revealing interview he opens up on his response to the coup plot led by Major Gideon Orkar in April 1990, the Dimka coup plot earlier in 1976, his assessment of the unfolding Muhammadu Buhari led administration and of his thoughts towards his one time friend, Chief Moshood Abiola among other things.

SIR, is it true that you are from Ogbomosho, a claim that is backed by assertion that your second name ‘Badamasi’ was coined from the Yoruba name Gbadamosi? Please can you clear the air?

The truth is that I hail from here, Niger State. My parents were from between Wushishi and this town (Minna). My grandparents travelled to settle down here and I think that that says it all but there is nothing wrong in being from any part of the country. The truth is that I hail from Niger State.I appreciate your concern. I had to answer the question way back in November 1962. I answered the question during my final year in secondary school when I had to answer that question and 52 years later, I am glad I am answering the same question.

Indigene of Niger State

My grandparents and great grandparents moved from somewhere to settle down in Niger State. There are some who still call us settlers in Niger State and that we are not indigenes of the state because our grandparents came from somewhere to settle here but having lived all my 74 years in Niger State, I think I am more than qualified to be called an indigene of Niger State.

What is your reaction to reported claims by U.S. officials that Nigerian troops were not properly trained to fight Boko Haram?

I must admit that a lot of us were trained in America, so it is not anything new to talk about training because they knew they had trained people. I was trained in America, I was in a place called Portsmouth in Kentucky where I did my senior officers course, so you can see that a lot of us were trained in America. They are right but there is an old saying that says, no matter the sophisticated weapons we have, the man behind the weapon really matters. I appreciate what they are trying to do.

Are you satisfied by the Federal Government’s renewed fight against insurgents? ( cuts in sharply)

Yea, they have to be fought. I think the renewed effort and fight the Federal Government is doing is commendable.

 But it was thought that the insurgents had been routed at the end of the Jonathan administration. So, what do you think may have happened that gave them fire as President came on board?

I think there is a general misunderstanding of the whole concept of insurgency. You can call it anything, instability, terrorism. The fact is that we are not fighting a regular army where you can confront them with sheer use of force and weapons to overwhelm the enemy.

No, we have gotten a small trained army whose tactics is to inflict maximum casualty on his so-called enemy, inflict casualty on him when and where he least expects it. The army is not fighting a conventional war and that makes it exceptionally difficult. They blow out bridges, they go as far as blowing up barracks. This is an unconventional war. I think the soldiers are trained for it and they know this is the sort of thing they do. I think the public should be educated about this unconventional war.

How do you feel celebrating your 74th birthday, given that several attempts were made against your life while you were in service?

I will continue to be grateful to God and it strengthens my belief that no matter what happens, if God doesn’t will it, nothing will happen to me.

Gratitude to God

So it is a matter of believing that no matter what happens, either good or bad, nothing happens without the approval of Allah.

I am grateful to God for sparing my life up to this time despite what we went through. Those who participated in combat will say the same. God has kept me and I remain grateful to Him and grateful to you all for your support.

Don’t you think that it is necessary to have a body of elder-statesmen to proffer advice to successive administrations especially given the situation Nigerians found themselves after the recent transition?

I think one of the most unique things in Nigeria is that this is one African country that is specially blessed. There are about seven of us (former leaders) alive today and every one of us has his experience in one way or the other but the other good thing is that there is a forum where we all meet the current leadership, chat with him, talk about the situation in the country discuss and offer solutions to any problem confronting us. All of us are always free, we are very accessible to government, so we can either put across either in writing or talking.

In your opinion what are the key areas the present government should focus so that the country will move on?

I must commend the present leadership for identifying even before and after the election some of the problems facing this country. Number one has to do with security and the president talked about it extensively.

Security of the state

The security of lives and property, the security of the state, the security of this environment called Nigeria has been identified.

And the second one has to do of course with the way we live, the way we walk and the way we behave which is corruption. The third one has to do with the economic development of the country. We should support the President towards achieving these objectives.

Talking of corruption, what is your reaction to the President’s vow to recover stolen funds from the nation’s treasury?

During the tenure of my boss, President Obasanjo, he had a similar strategy and to be fair to him, he made a lot of recoveries, so we should support this present Federal Government in trying to do the same to achieve the same objective. If that objective is pursued, I believe it will achieve some degree of nrecovery of stolen funds.  You talk about oil theft, I am sure President Buhari is resolute to stamp out all those and to bring to book all those who have tampered in stealing our oil.

What is your reaction to the Federal Government’s assertion that it could negotiate with Boko Haram?

The President has got it right by saying he will talk to people who are credible who have been identified as some of the leaders of the insurgency but so far, apart from one or two names, we do not hear any other name.

Democratic practices

I don’t think the government will like to talk in a vacuum, to talk to people who are not worth talking to as far as these issues are concerned. So the government is right in being careful to identify and talk if there is anything to talk about.

How do you feel as a leader of a former leading party that you are now in the opposition and secondly, do you think the PDP can come out of the waters in 2019?

I think one of the good things we are experiencing in this country is that for 16 years there has been democracy and democratic practices in the country. A lot of things must have gone wrong somewhere and the right judges are the people and the people have spoken. I think it is natural they needed a change after 16 years and they did what is right, they did not go wild, they did not fight anybody, they used their ballot papers to change the government. I think this is the beauty of what happened. I look forward to such practices in the next 50 years of democratic practice in this country.  I hope they learn from their mistakes, what they did wrong, what they did right and what they can do now to re-launch their party.

One of the major challenges your administration faced was the Gideon Okar coup where people thought death had finally gotten you. How did you escape?

I can remember very well that I had some loyal officers who were supposed to be my protectors and my body guard.

Initially they told me to leave but I told them no, I am not leaving anywhere but they remained steadfast and later I took my family outside Dodan Barracks and I joined my guards. So we went out of Dodan Barracks and we went to a safe house where we got in contact with loyal troops. May God bless Sani Abacha.  Sani Abacha was the chief of army staff. He got in touch with me, I got in touch with him and we sat down and talked on what we were going to do. Abacha and I rallied the loyal troops and then I left my safe house and joined Abacha in his house.  That was how I escaped.

How will you rate the role of the media in the just concluded general elections?

I think the media has been fair and that is my rating. Very unusual but you are fair. You didn’t show or play partisanship, you saw and said it the way it was. I have seen the media during a lot of other elections but this particular one you were very, very fair. And I hope that will be the trend.

What is your assessment about the performance of the present administration so far?

So far, I am confident that they are doing well.

Sound advice

They have identified the problems and they look resolute in confronting these problems head-on and there are a lot of people in the society who are offering a lot of sound advice on what to do.

Are you missing your friend MKO Abiola?

Let me see, last week, I dug out one of the letters he wrote to me and I read it, so that shows that I still miss him.

What is your best food?

I eat everything legal that is not against my religion, I don’t eat pork meat. I eat cereals, carbohydrate, give me anything I will eat it.

Recently, your political god son was being drafted into the contest for the president of FIFA (cuts in sharply)

I will vote for him. (Prolonged laughter). No doubt, he made a very good outing, that is talking about his personal interest in sports especially football when he was a governor.

The Enyimba Football Club during his tenure as governor was brought into limelight. He was very much interested in soccer and if he is as such recognised in this country and outside, there is nothing wrong in trying his hand to be recognised in the world and that was why I said if I have a vote, I will cast it for him.

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The Girl Who Escaped from Boko Haram Narrates Her Ugly Experience

Miriam was kidnapped by Boko Haram, forced to marry a fighter and then was raped repeatedly. After managing to escape, she told me her story.

“Is that her real hair?” Miriam whispered to Samson, my Hausa translator. Slightly embarrassed, he relayed the question back to me in English. “Um, yes it is,” I said. She looked astonished. Everyone in her community has braids, she explained, whereas my hair looked too straight to plait. She’d never seen anything like it.

I could tell that there was a great deal Miriam wanted to ask me. There was plenty I wanted to ask her too. But we’d met very late in the day, and everyone was exhausted.

Miriam, who’s 17, had travelled from her home village several hours’ drive away to tell us her story. She was held in captivity by Boko Haram for six months last year. She was forced to marry one of their fighters, who then raped her repeatedly. She is now pregnant with his child. Not that you could tell from her tiny frame, or the swathes of bright material draped across her body and covered by her long floral hijab.

Miriam arrived at our hotel escorted by a young man from her village who knew her family. It was not deemed appropriate for her to stay with him overnight, or to stay here alone. We asked Miriam what she wanted to do and she said, “I want to stay with her,” pointing at me.

Miriam’s English was marginally better than my non-existent Hausa. I managed to explain how to use the shower, arranged for her clothes to be laundered and gave her some of mine. She emerged from the shower wrapped in a fluffy white towel, looking like a child. When she pointed at her belly, I realised how heavily pregnant she was.

Later she told me how her community had rejected her since she came out of captivity expecting a child. “I really hope it is a girl. I would love her more than any boy. A boy would always be known as the son of Boko Haram.”

It was around 10 pm and I stepped outside to gather my thoughts. I was acutely aware of how vulnerable she was. I was also aware that some young women like Miriam have been forced, after months of torture and abuse, to join Boko Haram, and even kill on their demand. I was fearful of what this inquisitive young woman had seen, and how she might cope in these odd new surroundings with me, a total stranger.

In the hotel room, Miriam had fallen asleep, curled in a ball at the bottom of the bed.
I must have dozed off, because the next thing I knew it was 5 am, and for Miriam it was time to start the day. She dragged me over to the bathroom and pointed enthusiastically at my make up bag. She picked up my face powder and signalled for me to apply some, then passed the lipstick and the eye shadow. She batted her eyelids at me. Before I knew it, I was doing her make up. Miriam was smiling and laughing and pulling on my hair to confirm it definitely was real.

Perhaps we both briefly forgot what a desperate situation Miriam was in. For a few moments, she was just your average 17-year-old girl messing around with make up. But it was just a few moments.

Last year, Boko Haram attacked and took over her village. She was taken to a house and kept in a small room with about 40 other women. At first she resisted any marriage, but eventually agreed after four men were brought out in front of her and had their throats slit. “This will happen to any girl who refuses to marry,” the militants had told her.

After six months, and one failed escape, Miriam saw another chance to run away. The man she’d been forced to marry had left her alone, and she seized her moment. She ran and ran and ran, and she didn’t look back until she was home.
“I took something before I left,” she told me. From a knot of material around her waist, Miriam pulled out a hidden SIM card. I couldn’t believe her courage. She had taken it from her so-called husband’s phone.

We watched its video files. There were villages being set alight, beheadings, dead bodies lying in the streets. A grainy image of a young man emerged, shaking his rifle to celebrate an attack on a village. “My husband,” Miriam said. “If he ever sees me again, he will kill me.”

The spark I’d seen in her earlier seemed to be fading. “The men in my family are dead,” she told me – killed by Boko Haram. “I am just alone with my mum.”

Then a light came back – but it seemed more like a blaze of anger. “God will avenge me,” she said. “There’s nothing more I can say.”

  • Culled from BBC
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How I Escaped From Boko Haram By Philip Obaji Jr.

Babagana was just 16 when Boko Haram militants invaded his town, slaughtered his parents, and abducted the local children.

It was midnight when Babagana crept out of the Boko Haram hideout that had been his home for three days. Once he made his escape, he walked through the forest for hours before he found help. Like the other boys conscripted by the militants, he had been told that he would be hunted
down and killed if he deserted.

“I didn’t leave with anything,” Babagana told me. “When the chance came to escape, I only had my pants on. I ran almost naked.”

Babagana was just 16 when militants invaded his town in northeastern Nigeria last May, butchering his parents as he watched, burning down his home, and forcing him to become one of thousands of Boko Haram soldiers.

Babagana still vividly recalls his involuntary induction into a world of misery. Boko Haram militants invaded the rural town of Gamboru in Borno State, burnt down houses and demanded that the local children be handed over to them. Parents who objected were killed, and a couple of children
were forcefully taken.

“They asked me about my parents,” Babagana said. “They then killed them in front of me.”

“That is how Boko Haram operates. They first take out your parents so you have no one else to fall back to.”

The six-year-old insurgency in northeastern Nigeria has produced a replay of the country’s civil war in the late 1960s. Thousands have died, and more than one million people have been displaced. Famine is threatening, and cholera has broken out in some places. Sexual violence is on the rise. And
attacks on soft civilian targets continue, carried out by child soldiers much younger than their victims.

For three days, Babagana, traveled with Boko Haram through the dusty paths of Borno, not knowing what his fate would be as the militants duplicated the horrors they’d visited upon Gamboru. Babagana witnessed many of his fellow captives and people from other villages murdered by Boko Haram.

“They killed people for no reason,” Babagana said. “I just couldn’t stand the horror. It made me terribly scared.”

Although he was only with the militants for three days, Babagana witnessed acts so brutal that he decided to risk his life to escape.

“They killed anyone who didn’t heed to their instructions,” he told me.

“Girls were often subjected to sexual abuse. Anyone who proved stubborn was shot dead.”

“I lost my mind with all that I saw,” he added. “I thought if I didn’t find a way of escaping, sooner rather than later, it would be my turn.”

Babagana tried to rally a handful of fellow captives to escape with him. He was unsuccessful, as they were too scared to make any move. “I tried to talk my colleagues into escaping. They wanted to, but were scared they could be caught and killed,’” he recalled.

Around midnight on the following day, Babagana made his move, running into the bush as his captors shouted in alarm and began to fire at him. He managed to escape without a bullet wound. Alone in the wilderness, he continued to move, not knowing if he was being pursued.

“I was lucky to have escaped,” Babagana said. “There were so many voices and bullets coming after me,” he said.

Babagana eventually made it back to Gamboru, but found himself ostracized by his kinsmen, who no longer trusted him. Unable to depend on the community for protection, Babagana again went on the move, traveling to from one village to the other across northern Borno and many times narrowly
avoiding recapture as militants kept invading new communities. He finally made it to a displacement camp in Maiduguri, a place he now calls home.

Hassan Mustapha, a child-protection specialist in Maiduguri, said children are often put to “test of manhood” once there are conscripted.

“Once a child is conscripted by Boko Haram, he is first asked to kill his parents, which is a symbol of initiation into the sect,” Mustapha said.

“They destroy everything of value to these children so they have no options.”

Many of the children captured by Boko Haram serve on the front lines, fighting for control of villages and looting the homes of the civilians.

Others children serve as spies, scouts, porters, cooks and bodyguards for officers. Girls are also kept as sex slaves.

Yusuf Mohammed, a Maiduguri resident who works with children affected by trauma, said children are often used as foot soldiers because they are too young to be afraid.

“Militants feel more comfortable working with children than with adults because they come cheap, are extremely loyal, and can be easily controlled,” he said.

“Unlike adults, it is easy to brainwash and intimidate them.”

*Philip Obaji Jr. is the founder of 1 GAME, an advocacy and campaigning organization that fights for the right to education for disadvantaged children in Nigeria, especially in northeastern Nigeria, where Boko Haram forbids western education.

Culled from The Daily Beast


Opinion expressed on this page is solely that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of and/or its associates.

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