ISWAP Captivity Is An Empire On Its Own – University Worker Recounts How He Survived Terrorists’ Den


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A member of the Federal University staff, Kashere, Gombe State and indigene of Damaturu, Muazu Bawa, who was abducted by members of the Islamic State of West African Province, finally regained freedom and reunited with his family members last Monday.

He was abducted alongside other travellers on the Damaturu-Maiduguri highway six months ago, precisely on Saturday, January 2, this year.

Speaking with Daily Trust, Bawa stated the ISWAP captivity was another empire on its own while narrating how he earlier gave up on life when he was whisked into the bush by the terrorists.

He said, “I left Damaturu for Maiduguri around 7 am on that fateful day to attend the wedding of two close friends.

“As I was driving fast to catch up, the J5 in my front started moving haphazardly; that was when I realised that something was wrong. Because I was moving at high speed, I couldn’t control the car, so I skidded off the road and rammed into a solid object. The car bounced up and down to the extent that the airbag blew up and blocked my view.

“I was unconscious for a while, and all of a sudden, I saw heavily armed young people asking me to come out from the car. I tried but later realised that I sustained back injuries, so they assisted me to alight from the vehicle. From there, they picked me up to their hideout.

“They interrogated me and took my farmers’ association identity card. Then, one of them searched my phone. From there, they took me to an unknown location and informed me that they would take me to their leader (amir) for an interview. After that, they said if I were lucky not to be among the people they were targeting, they would set me free and urged me to exercise patience in all the processes.

“They took me and other abductees to him at a place not very far from where I was picked. After he interviewed me, he told us to proceed to another location, a journey that lasted for over eight hours in the bush before we got to a cell where they locked us.”

Asked how he fared in captivity, Bawa revealed a total disconnect with anything in life. “We were neither here nor hereafter,” he said.

“That place is another empire on its own. First, they allowed us to observe the five daily prayers. Then, when the cell became too congested, they asked a few of us to start sleeping outside.

“They once directed us to appear in a video and plead with the government to rescue us, saying we would be released if we were lucky,” he said.

Asked if he knew how their release was negotiated, Bawa said he had no idea. “They just asked us to prepare ourselves on that day and took 10 of us to the roadside and handed us over to a woman,” he added.

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