Most of us have already heard about ‘Boko Haram,’ and know about the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls and their subsequent dramatic release. Now, that these girls are returning home, we realize that there is more here than just the kidnapping of schoolgirls and their forcible marriage to radicalized militants.
Amina Al Nkeki, at least, misses her husband, and wants him to know that she thinks about him often. “I want him to know that I am still thinking about him,” she says tearfully. “Just because we got separated, that does not mean that I don’t think about him.”
Whether or not their marriage was forced, they had one thing in common: both of them were kidnapped, she to be a bride – and he to fight and kill for a war that has raged for almost as long as these two young people have been alive. It did not take her long to hear how he, too, had been taken from his own village, taught to use a weapon, inducted into the all-or-nothing extremist thought patterns of his captors, and forced to fight on pain of death.
Once they had a child together, he knew he could not raise his son in captivity, and agreed to escape with his wife and child.
She has been returned to her village, but he is to face what passes for justice in this war-torn country, paying the price for the violence that he was forced to commit in the name of a cause he does not believe in.
It is unlikely that this family will ever be re-united, and until the cycle of extremism and the practice of abducting children to mold into weapons – or as wives for those weapons – is curtailed, the fate of Amina’s son might well be the same as his father’s.
What do you think about this article? Do you agree? Do you have a story about forced marriage you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!