AS a result of the massive pounding of the Sambisa by the Nigerian Air force, several women and children are being released weekly between the headquarters of Bama town and the boundary areas around Kumshi and Banki.
It is not certain which, out of the two factions, was doing the intermittent release of the women, but military sources in Bama alleged that it is obvious both factions of the Boko Haram terrorists are exhausted in terms of foodstuffs and water for their captives.
Reliable military sources, who preferred anonymity, told the Nigerian Tribune that the almost weekly releases of captives by Abubakar Shekau and Abu Albarnawi started even before the clandestine negotiations started between the terrorists holding the Chibok girls and the Federal Government.
It is not certain if the government negotiators are putting a word for the release of other women in captivity too, but our sources say that “in the last month, they have been releasing captives who are not very useful to them anymore. Just last week we stood at alert when we saw a man who handcuffed himself and approached us from one primary school in Bama.”
“We had to arrest him immediately and took him and others behind him to the camp where we keep such new arrivals for deradicalisation processes to start. Just yesterday we saw two coming out of the bush from the area around Government Science Secondary School, Bama.
“From Kasua Shanu area, we saw seven of them approaching the town a day before you people came in with the governor. One of the women out of the seven was pregnant while two others had kids on their backs. That is how is has been since the Air force started heavy bombardment of the Sambisa.”
He told the Nigerian Tribune that from all indications, the pregnant lady was pale while the others carried malnourished kids, which are a clear indication that the heavy food supplies of their captors had been exhausted drastically.
Relating the testimonies of some of the released ladies, our source said some of them confirmed that they were given permission to leave since there was enough food in the camp of the military to keep them going while others escaped during heavy bombardments during the nights.
According to him “ When you are in the hands of terrorists who could kill instantly they just had to conform to all their directives including sexual slavery, which is why most of them come here pregnant after tests are carried on them.
“The heavily pregnant one confirmed that the terrorists used to line up to sleep with them. Each one waiting for his turn when the other has gone in. She said that was how she got pregnant and cannot point to a particular one as being responsible.
“They live in real wild jungle lives as no respect is given even to the ones the commanders have airmarked as his slave. When those commanders have gone out to look, for food or special operations like planting IED’S on the road for us, the younger ones too come in to take their turns even if she is weak and may die. Some as young as fifteen said the woman in her late thirties.
“It is true some of them are permitted to leave and surrender to the soldiers in their camps but many others we have interviewed in the deradicalization processes said they ran away when they were sent on some errands like to go fetch firewood or even to ease themselves in the night.”
Since the airforce started pounding the hideouts of the terrorists in the Sambisa forests lots of hopes have arisen for those whose wives, daughters or sons were abducted by the insurgents when they marched through lassa Uba, and broke down the bridge at Mitchika before proceeding to Gwoza, Pulka and finally marching through Bama where hundreds were thrown down a deep well in the federal prison yard after sacking the place and killing all the warders keeping watch over the prisoners.
The twenty one former chibok students who were released in a clandestine swap deal confirmed that they did not have food for over a month while in captivity.
The world is expecting a bigger swap deal with the terrorists which should result to the exchange for eighty nine of the former students of the government secondary school Chibok.