Babagana Bukar, 16, has made horrific revelation about his father’s murder by the Boko Haram sect, in July 2014. The lad from Rann in Kala Balge, Borno state, spoke to TheCable. The boy said the insurgents invaded their town in the morning of the said day in the month of Ramadan. He said they were about to have Sahur – the pre-dawn meal taken by Muslim faithful in the month of Ramadan, in preparation for the day’s fast. Shortly after they ate and were preparing for Salat al-fajr – the first Muslim prayer of the day –Boko Haram insurgents besiege their home.
“Any man who was old enough was killed,” Bukar claimed.
“I watched them slaughter my father”. Bukar was only 14 years at the time.
He spoke about the method of recuiting young boys by the insurgents.
“They rallied us and we were forced to follow them, with the goods that they took from our homes,” Bukar said, in Kanuri, a very popular language among the dwellers of Kala Balge, Ngala and Gamboru.
“When I had my chance, I ran, and as God will have it, I escaped Boko Haram. I came across a river, which was knee-deep. I carried my bicycle and walked through the river, on my way through Gamboru.”
Bukar slept along the Gamboru border of Nigeria and Cameroon on his first night, but his destination was Chad.
For him, it was more reasonable to travel to Chad than to make his way to the state capital, Maiduguri, Nigeria, and his reasons are understandable.
SHORTCUT TO SAFETY
First, his grandmother – who fled Nigeria, owing to insurgency in the northeast – was living in Chad. She was the only one he could think of running to at such hard times. Maiduguri to Rann is a 172-kilometre stretch of largely dilapidated roads. For locals, it is easier to go to Maiduguri, through Cameroon, than to come to the state capital through Kala Balge.
N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, is only 96 kilometres away from Rann, through Cameroon. It is not only better, it is also shorter for anyone fleeing Kala Balge.
Bukar, now 16, said he avoided every path where he saw prints of motorcycles and cars, finding his way through bushes and villages.
“Engineer”, as he is fondly called because of his skills with phone repairs, narrated how he went from Gamboru, to Gwado, to Afade, then Kousséri, a city in northern Cameroon, before crossing over to Chad, where he met up with his grandmother, after four tiring days on the road.