What Boko Haram Has Joined Together...

Almost a year after she was rescued from Boko Haram captivity by the Nigerian army, Zara John, 16, is still in love with one of the fighters who abducted her.

She was delighted to discover that she was pregnant with his child following a urine and blood test carried out by a doctor in the refugee camp to which she was taken after her rescue.

"I wanted to give birth to my child so that I could have someone to replace his father, since I cannot reconnect with him again," said Zara, one of hundreds of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram during a seven-year insurgency in northeast Nigeria.

But any decision over the baby was taken out of her hands.

Her father drowned during flooding in 2010 so her uncles intervened. Some were adamant that they did not want Boko Haram offspring in their family - and insisted on an abortion.

Others felt that the child should not be blamed for its father's crimes.

In the end, the majority carried the vote and Zara was allowed to keep her child, a son she named Usman who is now seven months old.

But asked her opinion, she said that she would rather be with her Boko Haram "husband".
"If I had my way, I would retrieve the phone number he gave me," she said, regretting not committing his number to memory.

But Zara is realistic and knows the possibility of being reunited with Ali is slim.

Instead she wants to return to school when Usman stops breast-feeding, and maybe then run her own business.

Thompson Reuters foundation news service

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