During my young age in the first grade in primary, there was widespread news of young children all over Yemen's governorates. The abductions cases mostly occurred after school hours. The kidnapping cases were very rampant, making every school-going child and parent fear for their lives. Girls were the biggest victims of the abductions making parents stop their children from going to school. Yemen's government seemed reluctant to taking action over the matter. Despite the abduction cases being widespread, I still attended school just as usual.
The kidnapped children were mostly lured with gifts from strangers and later carried away. In some cases were the children resisted abduction, the criminal's used force and dumb folded them to their cars and drove away. It was a rising concern to every parent on how they would raise their children. The government was urged severally by parents and activists to take stunt actions against the perpetrators, but the action seemed to be taking longer. New cases of child kidnapping were being recorded daily, but nothing seemed to be done.
Going to school during this time was so terrifying since I had to attend schools daily. I began having wired imaginations about being kidnapped since I had heard of various horror stories of children being victims of the practice. The government started warning and sensitizing the people. Parents were urged to be cautious of their children were about and never to leave them alone in the streets. To observe the safety of the school-going children, schools changed their regular schedules to half a day. Due to the continued rise of abduction cases, we were forced to run from school to home to be sure of our safety. Fear of being kidnapped forced me to urge my parents to stop me from going to school, but all in vain instead, they convinced me that God would protect me from the kidnappers, and nothing wrong would happen to me. Fear of being kidnapped grew so much within me that I mostly had nightmares over the ongoing cases. My sister was my only consoler; she made me believe the cases would come to an end, and the perpetrators would be arrested as soon as possible.
Alone in Crowded Places
On different occasions, children kidnapped were a result of being felt in crowded places alone. These crowded places posed a threat to children since the criminals used these opportunities to kidnap. The kidnapping cases rose stiffly to an extend that demonstrations began in the streets.
A few weeks later, two school-going girls from our school were kidnapped. Investigations began, and it was then known that the girls were sisters. The case cause so much tension that forced schools to be closed temporarily for several months. Parents were urged not to be accompanied by their children to various populated places. Whenever I was sent to the grocery store to buy breakfast ingredients, my mother watched my back from the house's window to ensure my security until I was back. It became a norm to the family that somebody had to accompany me whenever I was to go to the market. The most crowded streets and markets were now deserted; this scared me so much. Many times, I thought and imagined what could happen to me if I was kidnapped. The news went all over that the kidnapped children were being killed and their body parts and internal organs being chopped off and sold.
Kidnapping cases were aired daily on different media houses making the fear escalate in everybody. Schools remained closes for almost six months all this time I undertook no studies. Later on, the government ordered for reopening of the school. A directive was issued that schools would compensate for the lost time during the abductions period.
Since schools were closed for quite some time, children had no opportunity of doing online studies. This is mainly because Yemen’s government has no laid down laws on online studies in times of crisis, and also, the network services were unavailable at the moment. Students were left to remain in the idling without any form of studying. Although learning had stopped, to some extend, I was at peace being at home. Many are times; my friends came to our home to play behind the house. We discussed different issues concerning thonging kidnapping cases, which scared us, mostly hoping for everything to calm soon. Although we missed school, we felt a bit safe being at home under our parent’s check.
Six months later, the government assured us of our safety and ordered schools to be reopened. It claimed to have brought to book everybody involved in the kidnapping activities. We were assured that everything would go back to normal, with no new cases rising. Schools resumed but for only two months. Having missed learning for several months, I was very excited when we reopened. The joy of being together once more was inevitable in most student's faces. The fear of being kidnapped was slowly fading since the government had tightened security both in schools and in other gatherings. Several lessons and classes were removed from the curricula for the two months to be sufficient for studying. Activities came back to normal gradually. The market and the streets began being busy once more, with no cases of kidnapping.
Both the parents and the children were now relaxed since everything had come to calm. Being sent to the market was no longer an issue anymore. Parents didn't have to watch their children go to school or market places. School going children regained their lost freedom. They continued with their games back home on a daily basis without fear of being kidnapped. Cases of abductions were nowhere to be heard, and everybody applauded the government for its actions over the issue. Among the various experiences and memories of my childhood in Yemen, this is one experience that I always vividly remember. I share it several with some of my friends who we shared the same experience. This memory makes me believe that the past has both good and bad memories, which teaches us how to gain experience in our life.
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