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EXTRA: How snake killed the 9-month-old baby of a Boko Haram commander

EXTRA: How snake killed the 9-month-old baby of a Boko Haram commander

A nine-month child whom a Boko Haram commander had with one of his female captives has been killed by a snake.

The incident happened last weekend when the deceased child was sleeping beside his 17-year-old mother.

According to the BBC, the snake crept into their compound where they were relaxing as a result of the heat inside the house.

The mother identified as Zara was rescued during a military operation in Sambisa Forest, a stronghold of the sect in Borno.

In her first conversation with outsiders since her abduction over a year ago, she said she had not recovered from the pains.

Zara said life was tough and dangerous, as air force jets bombarded the vast Sambisa.

“They gave us a choice – to be married, or to be a slave. I decided to marry,” the BBC quoted her as saying.

She was eventually rescued and reunited with her relatives, but the stigma she faced made her yearn for a return to Sambisa.

“People call me a Boko Haram wife and called me a criminal. They didn’t want me near. They didn’t like me,” Zara said.

Commenting on Zara’s life after Sambisa, Mohamed Umaru, her uncle said: “The women in our family realised she was three months pregnant.

“In our family it happens that some of us are Christians and some are Muslims. She was a Christian before she was kidnapped but the Boko Haram who married her turned her into a Muslim.”

There was a split in the family over what to do and they took a vote as to whether she should abort or keep the child.

The majority prevailed and she gave birth to a boy.

“She said her husband’s father is called Usman, so that is how she named the child,” Mohamed said.

Zara said she had become an outcast in her community.

EXTRA: How snake killed the 9-month-old baby of a Boko Haram commander

Zara, the traumatised teenager

She now sits inside the small walled compound around her house, afraid to go outside because of the cruel insults of the neighbourhood children – messages of hate learned from their parents.

“They didn’t like my child. When he fell sick nobody would look after him,” she said.

“Some were happy that he died. They were happy the blood of Boko Haram had gone from the family.”

Zara’s uncle said the girl’s condition had become so bad that she sometimes contemplates suicide.

“They said thank God that the kid is dead, that God has answered their prayers,” Mohamed explained.

“Sometimes she says she wants to go to school and become a doctor and help society, but sometimes, when people insult her, she says she wants to go back to the Sambisa Forest.

“She always talks about her husband who happens to be a Boko Haram commander. She says the guy is nice to her and that he wants to start a new life with her.

“She will go and do a suicide mission if she gets the chance.

“People should understand that these children didn’t create this, but if we continue to stigmatise people with such trauma we might create something much, much bigger than Boko Haram in the future,” her uncle says.

“You are creating a more dangerous thing than Boko Haram if you grow up not welcomed by society and with nobody wanting to help you.

“My prayer is for the government to do something. They should come to their aid and reintegrate them and show them love.”

Zara says she is in love with her husband although she believes she has been brainwashed. She feels abandoned by her family.

“The feeling for the forest is strong now, but it will go away. I will forget the time with Boko Haram, but not yet,” she said.

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