Skip to main content

Boko Haram victim: I cried for someone to help me, but no one would come

By Faith Karimi and Vladimir Duthiers, CNN
updated 6:40 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
A video of Abubakar Shekau, who claims to be the leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, is shown in September 2013. Boko Haram is an <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/27/world/africa/nigeria-year-of-attacks'>Islamist militant group waging a campaign of violence</a> in northern Nigeria. The group's ambitions range from the stricter enforcement of Sharia law to the total destruction of the Nigerian state and its government. Click through to see recent bloody incidents in this strife-torn West African nation: A video of Abubakar Shekau, who claims to be the leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, is shown in September 2013. Boko Haram is an Islamist militant group waging a campaign of violence in northern Nigeria. The group's ambitions range from the stricter enforcement of Sharia law to the total destruction of the Nigerian state and its government. Click through to see recent bloody incidents in this strife-torn West African nation:
HIDE CAPTION
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "I looked around me and there was fire burning ... dead people," victim says
  • Boko Haram-related violence killed 1,500 in the first three months of this year
  • The group is known to use gunmen on motorbikes to kill

Abuja, Nigeria (CNN) -- With every attack by Islamist militants in northern Nigeria, Daniel Ayuba relives a nightmare.

Two years ago, attackers planted a bomb near a car wash in Maiduguri. The explosion shattered his leg and left 80% of his body covered in shrapnel.

It also flattened cars and motorbikes, and left an entire neighborhood smoldering.

"I looked around me and there was fire burning, houses blown up and dead people," said Ayuba, the scars still visible on most of his body. "I kept on crying, crying for someone to come help me, but no one would come."

Ayuba is among a fast-growing list of Boko Haram victims. The Islamist militants have intensified their wave of terror targeting the north and beyond.

Exclusive interview with kidnapped girl
He kept fighting for missing girls
Escaped Nigerian schoolgirls speak out
Weeks after the April 14 kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls, worried families and supporters blamed the government for not doing enough to find them. Their cries spread worldwide on social media under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. From regular people to celebrities, here are some of the people participating in the movement. Weeks after the April 14 kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls, worried families and supporters blamed the government for not doing enough to find them. Their cries spread worldwide on social media under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. From regular people to celebrities, here are some of the people participating in the movement.
'Bring Back Our Girls!'
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
>
>>
Bring Back Our Girls Bring Back Our Girls

And every attack gets more brazen.

They swoop in on foot, motorcycles and car convoys. They hurl bombs and pull guns with lightening speed.

In April the terrorist group attracted worldwide attention -- and condemnation -- when it abducted an estimated 276 girls in April from a boarding school in Chibok in northeastern Nigeria. Dozens escaped, but more than 200 are still missing.

A few days earlier, the militants bombed a bus station, killing at least 71 people on the outskirts of the capital of Abuja.

"When I heard the news, I started crying," Ayuba said. "I said to myself, 'What's wrong with these people?'"

Father ambushed, killed

In his case, the car wash bombing was not his first brush with the militants.

Years before that, members of the terror group ambushed his father, a police officer, and sprayed his car with bullets.

"When my father arrived ... they came out, one of them shot him" in the head, he said. His father died.

The lawless Borno state, whose capital is Maiduguri, is a major hot spot for the militants. So much so, it had banned motorbikes a few years ago to prevent drive-by attacks by Boko Haram.

The group is known to use gunmen on motorbikes to kill.

Ripple effects

For nearly a year, Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states have been under a state of emergency due to the relentless assaults.

The Islamist militant group has bombed churches and mosques; kidnapped women and children; and assassinated politicians and religious leaders.

Boko Haram -- whose name means "Western education is sin" in the local Hausa language -- says it wants to impose a stricter enforcement of Sharia law.

Violence related to the group killed 1,500 in the first three months of this year alone.

As the Nigerian military battles the brutal militants, it's breaking the rules as well. Rights group accuse both sides of ruthlessness -- Boko Haram of indiscriminate attacks, and the military of extrajudicial killings.

And as the militants step up their attacks, Ayuba is just glad to be alive.

"It was God that saved me. He kept me alive on purpose, and I ask God every day to relieve that purpose to me," he said.

He walks away with a limp, his scars a symbol of an insurgency that will not be forgotten.

READ: Boko Haram: A bloody insurgency, a growing challenge

CNN's Vladimir Duthiers reported from Abuja, and CNN's Faith Karimi reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Holly Yan contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:59 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson says he was just doing his "job right" when he shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown.
updated 8:18 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
updated 6:18 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says women's "nature is different," sparking fury.
updated 5:43 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
updated 7:51 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
updated 10:50 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
updated 4:06 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
updated 6:19 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
updated 2:45 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
updated 10:57 AM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT