Leah, Grace, Alice all fine in forest – Jennifer Ukambong

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Ukambong and Journalist Masara Kim after release

Jos, Nigeria: Miss Jennifer Ukambong Samuel, the Plateau aid worker abducted by Boko Haram on December 22, 2019 in northeast Borno State says Mrs. Alice Loksha Ngaddah, Miss Grace Taku and Leah Sharibu are all “doing fine” in the ‘forest’.

Mrs. Ngaddah, a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) medical worker was abducted in 2018 by Boko Haram in Rann community in Borno state.

She was abducted along with other victims after the insurgents attacked the town on March 1, 2018, killing at least four soldiers, policemen and three humanitarian workers.

Leah Sharibu was the only Christian among the 110 Dapchi schoolgirls kidnapped from Yobe State by Boko Haram on February 19, 2018.

Leah Sharibu

Grace Taku, an aid worker kidnapped by Boko Haram on July 18, 2019 had in same month claimed in a video released by the insurgents that Leah Sharibu and Alice had been killed over the Nigeria’s Federal Government’s inability to “do something”.

Grace in hijap

Miss Ukambong who was freed on January 15, 2020 however says Alice and the other two are not dead.”Alice in fact told us she is fatter than she was when she was abducted,” Ukambong said on Saturday when she arrived home in Jos, the capital of Plateau State.

Ukambong after release

Alice now called Halima

According to the 26years old, Alice’s name has been changed to Halima (Arabic name meaning forebearing, gentle, mild-mannered and generous) and she seemed comfortable while they were together.

Alice Ngaadah

“We went to her house (in the forest) twice,” Ukambong said.

“Yes she has a house there…I don’t know the location,” said the Midwife-Nurse when probed further.

Though she did not meet with Leah and Grace, Ukambong said Alice had assured them that both hostages were alive and well at an undisclosed location.

“She told us to pray for her and the other two, that she has left everything to God,” said Ukambong.

“No sexual harassment

The terrorists, though ruthless were generally “good” to the December 22 hostages, Ukambong disclosed.

She said, “They told us it was against the Qur’an to forcefully touch a woman not legally married to you.

“They however tried to prepare our minds to expect such should they decide to keep us as slaves.

“According to them, the Qur’an gives them the right to such privileges when they take a hostage as slave.

“They however preached Islam to them as the only religion through which one can inherit eternity,” said the Alliance for International Medical Action staff.

They were to be turned to slaves should they persistently resist their message of “salvation”, she said.

However, five days before their release, the insurgents according to her, told them “it seems Allah doesn’t want you here (in their camp).

Dr Peter Afunanya, spokesman of the Department of State Services said in an interview with the Chinese news agency, Xinhua, Afunanya that the rescue operation was carried out in collaboration with other critical stakeholders in military and intelligence services.

Rescued Alon with Jennifer Samuel Ukumbong of the Alliance for International Medical Action, ALIMA is Miss Asabe Cletus Musa also of ALIMA; Adamu Auwal Arthur Ibojekwe China of Solidarity International and George Danbaba Michael.

The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu has congratulated the families of the hostages on the release.

In a text message to MK on Friday, days after writing to seek details of the abduction, Shehu said, “Accept my congratulations (on the release of the hostages).”

The hostages were kidnapped along Monguno-Maiduguri road while traveling home for Christmas.

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