My mother asked the gunmen to kill her alone and spare us but they shot her and all my siblings —Survivor of Yelwa-Zangam attack recounts tales of horror
It was all tears at the Our Lady of Apostle Hospital, Jos, Plateau State during the week when relations and sympathisers besieged the hospital to see those who survived the attack on Yelwa-Zangam in Jos, North local government area of Plateau by gunmen said to be Fulani.
The attackers, who were in their large number were said to have invaded the community at about 8:30 pm. They destroyed the local bridge linking the community to the city centre with the primary aim of blocking any rescue mission or intervention from the neighbouring communities and the security agencies.
It was gathered from some of the survivors of the attack that the marauders, despite the curfew in place, came shooting sporadically and butchering anyone they caught up with before they began house to house operations.
A survivor who said he was returning from work at about 10:00 pm said he took cover under the bridge throughout the time the operation lasted
“For close to three hours that I was hiding under the collapsed bridge, there was wailing and crying from all the houses in the community while thick smoke enveloped the air as the marauders burnt houses.
“I could not run back and I cannot proceed to enter the community. I came out at about 2:00 am when I heard a siren from security vehicles near the bridge. They brought me out but could not go further because the bridge had been damaged by the attackers suspected to be Fulani militias.”
Reliving the attack, one of the victims, Blessing Adubir, who sustained bullet wounds on her leg and hand. said she lost her mother and six siblings in the attack.
She stated that the invaders arrived in the community at about 8:33 pm, and destroyed the bridge linking the area to the Jos city centre. She added that they shot their way into the community to probably announce their arrival shooting at random until they began house to house operations.
“We were preparing to go to bed when we began to hear gunshots in different directions. I and my sister Joyce went outside but were forced to beat a retreat as a result of a sporadic gunshot. The nine of us inside the house escaped to a neighbour house where we met other people.
“They force themselves into the house and discovered me, my mother and other siblings hiding in a room. My mother came out and pleaded with them to kill only her and leave the rest of us. One of the attackers told the other ones in the Fulani language to shoot my mother which he did. Before she collapsed my mother was still pleading with them to spare us, they shot at her again and proceeded to kill all other persons in the house. I was hit on my leg and my mother fell on me. I pretended as I was dead but watching them.
“They brought out the mattress in the house soaked it with petrol and also poured petrol on the chairs. They set the house on fire and locked the door behind them. The entire house was filled with smoke but I struggled to crawl out through one of the doors that was not locked.
“I was later picked by people I don’t know and brought to this hospital. Apart from other people shot and burnt to death in the house, I lost my mummy and six siblings. God will judge, If I die or survive this wound I will not forgive them. They may be happy wherever they are now, I know their joy will soon turn to sorrow” she cursed the attackers
Apart from this, virtually every family in the community was touched and presently in pain and agony. It was further learnt that almost all those who took refuge in the house of the community leader otherwise called “Mai Angwan” were killed.
A lady, Agnes Auta 22 years, who escaped with a gunshot wound now receiving treatment at Our Lady Hospital said immediately the sound of gunshots rented the air, a lot of people ran into the house of the community leader for a cover but the attackers later attacked the house.
She said:” They forced themselves into the house, shot everyone and set the house on fire. I was shot on the other leg but I held on to the book of Isaiah 43:2b which says when you walk through fire it will not hurt there” God gave me the courage I walked through the intense fire unhurt.
“There was blood all over the house, those who carried out the killings will regret it. We know them, some of them are our neighbours, we see them as neighbours but they see us as enemies. In that house, almost twenty people were killed,” she said.