Chibok girls are in Gwoza, freed captive says

More than 200 girls who were abducted by Boko Haram from government secondary school, Chibok, Borno State, in April 2014 are in Gwoza, The Cable, an online medium, on Wednesday quoted Mbutu Papka, a woman who was recently freed after eight months in the sect’s captivity, to have said.

Papka, who made the revelation to the international centre for investigative reporting, said she was transferred from a poor condition in Mdita to a fairly tolerable facility in Gwoza where the abducted girls were being held.

She said, “In the camp at Gwoza, there were clear demarcations between where people were kept. The Chibok girls, other captives and Boko Haram members and their family members all had their separate areas secured, though the security in the area where the girls are kept is visibly different and much tighter.

“When we got to Gwoza, things changed because there were facilities there and the place was 10 times better than Mdita.

“We had a normal life in Gwoza, except the trauma of living in captivity. Whatever we wanted to eat, they were provided. They would bring water, firewood, etc., and leave them outside. They even provided perfume for anyone who requested for it.”

The 56-year-old woman added that no one was allowed anywhere near the specific location of the abducted girls, which was being guarded round the clock.

Papka was reportedly seized alongside many others when Boko Haram attacked Gwoza on July 4, 2014 and taken to Mdita, a remote village near the notorious Sambisa Forest, bordering Askira Uba and Damboa. She and many others, including children were kept in Mdita for five months before they were taken to Gwoza, where she was held for another three months before being released on March 15.

The woman said the facilities provided for them in Mdita were so poor that some captives died of ill health.

“There was a Redeemed Christian Church of God pastor who was killed during the attack on our village, and his wife was abducted with us. She died at Mdita due to the condition of the place and the death of her husband,” she said.

The pastor’s wife was said to have had diabetes and had been on a special diet, which could not be provided by the insurgents.

Though she said she could not speak for the abducted girls, Papka said she and the other women abducted were neither raped nor assaulted, saying the insurgents lived with their wives and children in the Gwoza camp.

When she was to be released by the sect on March 15, Papka was given a sick two-year-old boy who had been crying uncontrollably. She was driven home on a motorcycle and asked to pay N8, 000, which her family did.

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