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Southern Kaduna killings: SURVIVORS RECOUNT ORDEAL

•Attackers killed my pregnant wife, burnt my house
•I lost my baby in the river running from Fulani attackers
•I watched as they poured petrol on my house, burnt it

It has been a series of attacks in the southern part of Kaduna State in the past few weeks with the government and security agencies still trying to figure out how to stop the carnage. In this report, BABA NEGEDU spoke with some of the victims and survivors who are now residing at the Mercy Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp in Zonkwa, about their harrowing experiences when the attackers stormed their communities.

Cecilia Bitrus is from Sabon Kaura Chigudu community. The 48-year-old mother of six narrates her close shave with bandits who attacked her home: “What happened was that we were sleeping in the room when suddenly we started hearing gunshots; it was around 11pm. “I was afraid and ran into the nearby maize farm and hid there.

The attackers many of them came and started hitting the door, some were just shooting indiscriminately while one shot at the door like for three times or so. I was so afraid and watching them. I could not move. When they shot at the door and it refused to open two of them now started hitting it with their legs. “When the door opened they went inside the house and shot the two people inside the house. They now came outside and opened the Jerri can they came with and poured petrol on the house and set it on fire. “The whole house was burnt down; I was just watching and crying and could not do anything or even cry out loud. The only thing I have left in this world was the cloth on my body.

“My children, I have two with me here, one traveled to Abuja, one traveled to Kaduna and we are all scattered.” They killed my pregnant wife and burnt my house – Auta Another victim, Bitrus Auta, a 52-yearold man married to two wives said: “I was at home sleeping when the attackers came to our community, it was around 11 pm. I was just hearing the sound of gunshots.

“Before I know they were at my compound, shot their gun into the house and set the house on fire. That was when I escaped through the back door. My other wife was in the house. She was unable to run because she was pregnant; they killed her and burnt the house. “When they move into the house, I quickly used the back door and ran into the bush.

I hid inside the maize farm; the whole attack should be up to an hour because they were moving from house to house in the community. “That night I did not know where to go with fire burning everywhere amid gunshots. I hid inside the farm till morning.”

They killed my husband and made away with his cattle – Godiya Godiya Jacob a 30-year-old, married woman with five children from Chibwob village said: “We were sleeping when the attackers came, they just rushed into the room and dragged me up and started asking for my husband. That time my husband was already hiding, but they looked for him and shot at him and killed him. “One of them now called the other ones to come outside and see my husband’s cow, as they rushed outside I now left the room and ran towards the back of the house. My husband has three cows; they pulled them out of the house and went away with the cows.

“Throughout the night, I ran from our village to the next village, Sabafan. I told them what happened and I slept there till the next day before I found my way to the camp.” How I lost my baby in the river running away from Fulani attackers – Hajaratu A widow, Hajaratu David, 45 years old with three children from Chibwob, said their community was attacked around 12 midnight. She said: “We were sleeping around 12 midnight when we heard gunshots. We initially thought it was our local vigilantes, but after the second shot, I quickly woke up my three children. I heard more gunshots and so we ran out of the house. “We went to a neighbour’s house but saw the house was empty. We came back and locked ourselves in our kitchen but the sounds of bullets continued loudly all over the village and people were screaming; so we ran out of our house and out of the village. We were still being pursued. We got to a hill and looked behind and saw houses in Chibwob village on fire. We could still hear gunshots.

“We continued running and in the process, I got separated from my two children. I had my two-year-old baby on my back, so I continued running. I got to a river and decided to cross it. I entered and as walked, I realized the river was deep because of the rains. I thought of going back but I needed to get away. I was struggling inside the river by this time and I felt my baby holding me tightly. “I then got swept by the water which was almost at my neck. My baby was still holding tightly to me and I was still struggling with the water. I got pulled under the water but was able to come to the surface. It happened again.

After the third time, I was able to get to the other side of the river. That was when I realised that my baby was not on my back anymore. I searched and searched while crying but couldn’t find her. I then continued walking in the dark. I was also naked by this time.”

“After trekking for some time, I got to a village called Yagbak and knocked on someone’s door. They opened, took me in after I told them that my village was attacked and they gave me clothes to wear. The next day I came to the camp in Zonkwa.”

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