Katsina IDPs report mass rape, serious beating from bandits
Following bandits’ raids on residents of some border communities in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State, displaced villagers are reporting mass rape and torture at hands of the bandits, while they could see their neighbours over in the Niger Republic living in peace.
On Thursday August 27, the people of Tsambaye, Zango Mai Rumbuna and Karauki villages, men women and children, deserted their houses, farmlands and belongings to take shelter at the Jibia Central Primary school to escape the unspeakable horror they were subjected to at the hands of bandits in their area.
When Daily Trust visited the camp, some of the IDPs narrated how their villages were frequented by the criminals.
During these attacks women, especially younger ones were raped, sometimes gang-raped, men were mercilessly beaten, those who attempted resistance were murdered, and their belongings carted away or vandalized.
One of the victims, who was raped, reported witnessing some horrible scenes.
“Today is the third day since 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.
Even the elderly were not spared as 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.
“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 through them all thoroughly for them to see if there was any money.
“They eventually scattered everything and left me like that. From then on, whenever the sun sets, I will have no peace of mind because if I close my eyes, I see them standing over me.
“So I cannot sleep throughout most nights,” she said.
A young woman, who simply gave her name as Rabi, said eight men, including the village head, were killed when the bandits invaded her village.
“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 bandits.
“They have beaten our men, even the younger ones, and took away our foodstuff.
“What they could not take, they littered everywhere with it,” Rabi said.
Another woman from another village said she was gang-raped 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, and that he was robbed and beaten a number of times by the bandits, who also carted away his domestic animals.
The bandits raped a number of women in the villages they raided
“We tried to resist, but they over-powered us and we were not getting any support from the government as those bandits come at will, day or night.
“When you call the security agents, they will not show up, and even when you see them, it is always after 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.
In addition, a resident of Karauki village told Daily Trust that the kidnappers visited their village on Friday at around 1:45 am and attempted to abduct a watchman who looks after an antenna mast of one of the telecom providers.
“They went straight to his house and dragged him out, but he attempted to escape from them as a result of which they shot him in the foot.
“Luckily, the border patrol security agents were close to the village, and when they heard the gunshot, they started shooting in the air and the bandits fled, leaving the watchman,” he said.
With the village being close to the border with the Niger Republic, residents could see the Nigeriens on the other side of the border going about their business without any hassle from bandits.
“It is only a distance of about three kilometres to the 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,” one of the villagers said.
They called on governments at all levels to consider their plights, saying, “We are in a 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 were constantly raped in our presence and our men were beaten in the presence of their families, and no one can do anything.”