by WorldTribune Staff, August 17, 2018
A Yazidi teenager who was kidnapped at age 15 by Islamic State (ISIS) and held for three months as a sex slave said she now feels safer in an Iraqi refugee camp than in Germany, where she was confronted earlier this year by her ISIS captor.
Ashwaq Ta’lo, 19, says the jihadist she identified as Abu Humam accosted her in February in Schwaebisch Gmuend, a town near Stuttgart, where she, her mother and a younger brother were resettled in 2015. She returned to Iraq the following month.
Ashwaq said the encounter with Humam in Germany occurred on Feb. 21 in a food store.
“Someone stopped me in my stride. It was a bearded man. I froze when I looked at his face carefully,” she said, according to a report by the Daily Mail. “He looked cleaner in European casual clothes and without his Afghan attire but he had the same scary beard and ugly face.”
“I was speechless when he started speaking in German to me, asking ‘You’re Ashwaq, aren’t you?’ I was more than terrified.”
She said she had pretended to be Turkish after he had spoken to her in German and Arabic and told her: “I know where you live.”
Ashwaq was kidnapped by ISIS when the terror organization seized swathes of Iraq in the summer of 2014 when thousands of Yazidi women were killed or sold off as sex slaves.
In a Facebook video, Ashwaq said many Yazidi girls who had fled to Europe had later encountered the men who had put them in captivity. She said she had a friend in nearby Stuttgart who had also seen her former captor.
Ashwaq, who was held from Aug. 3 to Oct. 22 of 2014, told AFP she managed to escape from the home of Humam, who had bought her for $100.
Ashwaq said she immediately notified police after the Feb. 21 encounter with Humam. Judicial police in the Baden-Wuerttemberg region of southwestern Germany said an inquiry was opened on March 13 but that Ashwaq was not present to answer questions, the AFP report said.
A spokesman for the German federal prosecutor’s office told AFP that so far the man’s identity could not be confirmed “with certainty.”
Ashwaq said she was not willing to return to Germany for fear of seeing her captor again.
She is back in northern Iraq with her mother and brother, but living in fear because she says Humam has family in Baghdad.
Ashwaq’s father, Haji Hamid, now resides at a camp for the displaced in Iraqi Kurdistan. He told AFP that returning to Iraq was not an easy decision, even though the government proclaimed victory over ISIS at the end of last year.
“When her mother told me that she’d seen that jihadist… I told them to come back because Germany was obviously no longer a safe place for them,” he told AFP.
Five of her brothers and a sister are still missing after being kidnapped by ISIS.