SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As the Nigerian government works to free hundreds of missing school girls kidnapped by terrorists, a local woman knows all too well what it means to be taken by armed men in Africa.
Aminnata Bockarie says every time she watches the news about those Nigerian girls, she has nightmares about when she says she was kidnapped 12 years ago by African rebels in Sierra Leone.
A dozen years later, the emotional scars are still fresh.
“They started beating me, kicking me,” she said.
Bockarie, who now lives in Sacramento County, was in her early 20s when rebels in Sierra Leone, West Africa were on a kidnapping and killing spree during a civil war that lasted from 1991 to 2002. An estimated 50,000 people died.
She says when she was kidnapped from her family, there was a constant debate among rebels if she should live or die.
“So they have to kill me,” she said. “But this little guy said we don’t have to kill her because …”
Because rebel commanders decided to use her as their sex slave, tormenting Bockarie for more than a year.
“So any commander see me, he has to sleep with me. So this story I never tell people,” she said.
She says she can related to the kidnapped Nigerian girls and believes the terrorist group Boko Haram is also abusing them. Recently, the leader of the group threatened to sell them on the international market.
“I just put them in my situation, because that’s what they’re doing with them right now,” she said.
Bockarie also says based on her experience, she doesn’t believe this is about religion or politics, but about the growing business of human trafficking.
She currently lives with her mother in Sacramento County and plans to write a book on her survival.