Residents of some border communities in Jibia local government area of Katsina state, whose villages were ransacked by bandits lately, have recounted their ordeal in the hands of marauding bandits who unleash terror in the area.
On Thursday, 27, residents of Tsambaye, Zango Mai Rumbuna and Karauki villages, men women and children deserted their homes, farmlands and their belongings to take, left behind their houses, farmlands and the remnants of their belongings to take shelter in Jibia Central Primary School in order to escape adversity they suffered in the wake of banditry in their area.
When Daily Trust visited the camp, some of the internally displaced people narrated how their villages were frequented by the criminals during which young women were raped by a gang, men were mercilessly beaten – those who attempted resistance were murdered – and how their belongings were carted away or vandalized.
One of the victims of rape narrated how a man was butchered with a machete while two women were abducted, one of them a nursing mother who was taken together with her infant.
“Today is the third when that man was killed in our village and before then, two women were abducted, one of them recently delivered a baby, but those merciless kidnappers took them away and did not even allow her to take a piece of clothing with which to wrap her baby. Only God knows the condition of the baby now as they are still there with them” she said.
And elderly woman, Malama Hannatu (Not real name), said, “Five men pounced on me in my room the day they invaded our village. They met me with nothing but a skirt on me. They intimidated me, harassed me and asked me to bring out whatever is in the room, searching for money. I told them I had no money but they said I was lying.
“They were there for over an hour because I have a lot of things in the room, but I had to comb them all thoroughly for them to see if there was money. They eventually scattered everything and left me like that. From then on, whenever the sunset, I will have no peace of mind, because if I close my eyes I saw as if they are standing over me, so I could not sleep throughout the night.”
A young lady, Rabi, said eight men were killed when the bandits invaded their own village, including the village head.
“Let me be frank with you, almost every middle-aged lady was raped in our village that night, either by one person or by a group of the bandits. They have beaten our men including even the younger ones and took our foodstuff away. What they could not take with them, they poured it down and littered everywhere with it,” Rabi narrated.
Another woman, who was also raped at another village, said she was gangraped on her matrimonial bed while her husband was beaten and driven out by the bandits.
One of the leaders of the affected communities who didn’t want his name mentioned, said his daughter was abducted, himself robbed and beaten a number of times by the bandits and all their domestic animals and poultry were carted away.
“We have tried to resist, but they have overpowered us and we are not getting any support from the government, as those bandits come at will, days and nights, and when you call the security agents, they will not show up, and even when you see them it is always when the bandits have concluded their operations and left.
“This is why we decided to vacate the area, because we cannot resist them and from the way things are going, they will finish us all if we don’t leave,” he said.
Also a resident of Karauki village told Daily Trust that the kidnappers have visited his village on Friday at around 1:45am and attempted to abduct a watchman who looks after an antenna mast of one of the service providers.
“They went straight to his house and pulled him out, but he attempted to escape from them as a result of which they shot his toe with a gun. Luckily enough, the border patrol security agents were close to the village, and when they heard the gunshot, they started shooting in the air and that was how the bandits fled and left the watchman,” he said.
The affected people said, “It is only a distance of about three kilometres to Niger Republic from our villages and we can see them living in peace with their animals and they are going about their farming activities without any harassment.”
They called on the governments at all levels to consider their plights, saying “We are in dire situation, we cannot continue to remain here (in the school) and we cannot go back to that place if the situation remains like that, because we can no longer endure the kind of cruelty from those bandits in which our women are constantly raped in our presence and our men beaten in the presence of their families, and no one could do anything.”