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Mother of rescued Chibok school girl fears for her future. "She does not want to remain a Muslim"




Amina Ali, a schoolgirl who was rescued after two years
in Boko Haram captivity, may never be the girl she once
was, her mother fears.
Binta Ali was also worried her
daughter was being pressured into following Islam.
Amina, one of more than 200 girls abducted from a
school in Chibok in April 2014, and her four-month-old
baby were rescued in May near Damboa in the remote
northeast, by soldiers working together with a Civilian
JTF.
After a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, in the
hope she would shed light on the fate of the other
kidnapped girls, Amina has since been held in a house in
the capital Abuja for what the Nigerian government has
called a "restoration process".
Garba Shehu, Buhari's spokesman, said that Amina's
confinement in the house had nothing to do with religion.
But her mother, Binta Ali, who has spent the last two
months in the house, is concerned about Amina's welfare
and future.
"Before she was kidnapped, she wanted to further her
education," Binta told the Thomson Reuters Foundation
from Chibok, having briefly returned there to seek medical
treatment.
"But now she is afraid of schooling, and she wants to be
close to me at home," said Binta, adding that Amina
wants a sewing machine so that she can start a business
making clothes.
Binta said she was also worried that her daughter was
being pressured into following Islam, having been forced
to convert from Christianity to Islam by Boko Haram
militants during her captivity.
"Amina herself does not want to remain a Muslim," Binta
said, explaining how an Islamic teacher had visited the
house several times and told her daughter to maintain her
new faith.
"She did not want to see him," Binta said, adding that the
teacher had stopped visiting after she complained about
him.
Amina and the other girls, starving and with nothing to
cook with, resorted to eating an entire bag of beans and
maize raw.
"I cannot imagine how a human being can eat raw maize
and beans like a goat," Binta said.
Amina also told her mother how some of the kidnapped
girls had died in captivity, while others suffered broken
legs or went deaf after being too close to explosions. But
she pleaded with her mother not to break the news to the
families in Chibok.
"Other parents have been coming to visit me since I
returned," Binta said. "But I have not told them anything,
even though I know some of those whose daughters have
died."
Despite her fears over Amina's religion and education,
and uncertainty over when she will be allowed to return
home, Binta said she still had reason to be positive about
her daughter.
"She used to be very afraid," Binta said, explaining how
Amina would talk to herself during the night prior to her
kidnap.
"But now she sleeps soundly. She is no longer afraid."
Source: Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani for Reuters Foundation

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