Gyang Bere, Jos
There was jubilation on Saturday, January 18, 2020, when a nurse, Jennifer Ukambong Samuel, aid worker with Alliance for International Medical Action (AIMA), abducted in the North East arrived in Jos, Plateau State, after regaining freedom.
Family members, nurses, midwives, relatives, friends, associates, women, children and the aged took to major streets dancing and thanking God for the release of Jennifer and five other medical aid workers.
Her mother, Naomi, who lost sleep since her daughter was abducted on December 22, 2019, shed tears of joy as she warmly embraced and welcomed her daughter home. A widow, she danced and praised God for divine intervention and prayed God to move in His mysterious way for the release of Leah Sharibu and other Chibok schoolgirls in captivity:
“I can’t thank God enough for giving us hope again. We look onto Him for help and our help certainly came from the Lord at the end of the day. We appreciate the Department of State Service (DSS) and other security agencies for facilitating her release.”
Jennifer, who arrived Jos at about 1:30pm amidst crowds, shed tears of joy for seeing her friends, relations and boyfriend, Slim Rebentum, whom they were together when she was abducted. She was overwhelmed.
She said she thought that was the end of the road when about eight persons were selected among them and shot death. She went through psychological trauma despite efforts by their captivity to make them comfortable.
She narrated her chilling story: “I was on my way from Monguno to Maiduguri (Borno State) and we got to a distance not up to an hour. We saw armed gunmen and I was thinking they were military. But from their faces they were young boys who dressed in uniform with weapons. It was then that I realised they were not military.
“We started panicking as they stopped us. We saw about six commercial vehicles parked. They asked us to come out of our vehicle and asked some people in the car to go into the bush.
“They asked me of my Identity Card and I said I did not have any. Meanwhile, the guy bedsides me is my boyfriend and he was with my purse. He quickly dropped the purse inside the car with the Identity Card. They asked the other women and they said they did not have Identity Card too and the person left.
“The second person came and demanded for our Identity Cards and we said we did not have. The third person came and looked into the car. He told me to drop from the car. He asked me some questions and directed me towards the bush and I went.
“When I got there, I met the lady I was together with inside their van with other men that they abducted. They asked us if we were Christians and I said yes. They asked the boys their occupation and their religion.
“They released some of the boys to go and join the crowd. One spoke their local language, Kanuri. They brought out some of the boys. I don’t know the criteria they used and told them to kneel down and they obeyed.
“They kept asking them of their occupation and Identity Card. They took them to the road and told them to kneel down and they killed them. I can’t account the number of those killed because I was not at that point.
“I don’t know how many of us were taken but I think we were eight or nine in number. We started moving inside the bush and got to a place where they wanted to make video recording for us to speak to Federal Government. That we should tell them that if they don’t want what happened to Alice, Leah and other guys to happen to us, they should release their people in government custody.
“I saw Alice the last day we were going, she was the only person we were allowed to see. I did not see Leah Sharibu, but Alice said Leah and Grace are doing fine. That was what she told me.
“That if I had known her before she was abducted I would have agreed that she is doing fine there. She said she is fatter than when she came. They told us in Hausa that they are in Lake Chad we were around Chad Basin River. They took us to three different locations using flying boat. They said government did something, which I did not know. They drew a line that they would not release Alice, Grace and Leah.
“We were there for about 22 days and I had a lot of mental disorder. I was asking myself what they were going to do with us. Were they going to sell us to slave traders? Were they going to kill us? These were some of the thoughts that ran through my mind.
“At some point I got consoled. I was with Asabe all through, we were abducted together. I told her that if they take our blood sample, then they might sell us to people who need human organs. At some point, I prayed to God that whatever they wanted to do, let them just do.
“At another point, I was at peace because I knew where I was. I knew anything could happen. We could be killed at anytime. I prayed to God that whatever would happen let Him take the honour.
“We were praying and fasting, looking unto God for a miracle. We were feeding ourselves they gave us raw food to cook. They said we should ask them for anything we needed. But we ate once a day because we were fasting. We didn’t tell them we were fasting, they brought fish for us and other things.”
When asked if they were sexually harassed, Jennifer said: “There was no sexual harassment but they were preparing us for that. They said their Quran allows them to have sex with their slaves but it is not everyone of them that will have that privilege.
“Asabe and I were released and three others. Those of us abducted were all Christians including those killed. I was together with my boyfriend but he was not abducted.
“We were told that we were going to be released five days before we were released. They put us under suspense, each day we woke up, we would be anxious to here them telling us to go. We left the place at about 2:30 pm and we came out the next day around 4pm. It took us about 24 hours to come out of the captive zone.
“We went through the bushes until we got to their destination. I am prepared to go back to my work in Maiduguri. What happened will not stop me from doing my work.”