“Anyone caught escaping would be immediately killed.” Aissata Oumaté’s voice is soft. She spent two years in a house in a village in Nigeria that was deserted after being attacked by Boko Haram. She was brought there from her home in northern Cameroon, crying and against her will, on the back of a motorbike in a small convoy of her husband and his friends. She believes her husband was convinced by elders from his natal village to join the fight for a cause.
When they were in Nigeria, he would disappear for months at a time, leaving her to forage for food and hide in the bush when battles came too close. During one of his absences, pregnant with her first baby and terrified, she convinced traders from Cameroon to smuggle her in their car back to Kolofata, where her parents were from. And when she found that they had fled to Mora, she followed them there. Her parents take care of her, but her prospects are poor. She has no schooling, and having been the wife of a Boko Haram fighter, she is stigmatized, and subjected to suspicion and scorn in the community.


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