By Israel Arogbonlo
The sporadic sounds of gunshots jostled residents of the sleepy Ariri community, in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State. Time was 11.30pm. At first, residents thought it was from the Task Force on duty.
But they were proved wrong as those firing the shots turned out to be suspected Fulani herdsmen! They forced their way into one of the buildings, occupied by a man, his wife and five children.
That singular visit which occurred on October 17, 2018, has left an indelible memory in the lives of the Aghos, as its bread winner, Samuel Agho, was slaughtered, in his bid to prevent one of the invaders from raping one of his daughters.
In this interview with Crime Guard, one of the children, Helen Agho, gave a blow- to- blow account of the ugly incident which she said remains a nightmare till date.
Helen, who was bred and brought up in Kano state before her family relocated to Jos in the year 2005, recalled: “On that fateful day, I came back home very late after the long day at work. I remember my father and mother told me to lock the door before going to sleep, which I did as instructed.
“At about 11.30pm, I heard a loud bang some few miles to our house. At first, I thought the sound was coming from the men of the Task Force Agency on duty but to my amazement, I heard the sound the second time, which became louder than the first. At this point, my parents and all my siblings had already woken up. We started praying as fear had gripped us, since we didn’t know where the noise was coming from.
“Not long after, the noise drew closer to where we were saying our silent prayers, unknown to us that would be my father’s last prayer on earth (Sobs). Before I could say Jack Robinson, three armed men with daggers and some other dangerous weapons had taken possession of our abode. Immediately they saw us praying, they started saying “Allahu Akbar” meaning “God is greater”, insulting our Christian faith and making mockery of our religion.
“As we lay there on the ground, one of the herdsmen came to where we were and pointed his gun at me and my two other sisters. As one of them was about to lie with one of us, my father who was really mad, jumped up and grabbed him and they began to wrestle each other.”
At that point, she said that her mother told them to run as fast as they could, out of the house.
.Continuing, she said, “ “My mother and grandmother ran away while I stood there crying and calling for help . As this was going on, another Fulani man got hold of my immediate sister, brought out his penis and forced his way into her. When he finished, one of his partners also had his turn.
Thereafter, the two herdsmen who just finished rapin my younger sister stabbed my father and left.
I ran out of the house, to the village and rushed into a building which door was opened. I stayed there till the following morning. I haven’t been able to recover from the trauma of that night. I wish I could throw the whole experience behind me so I can move on with my life but I can’t just forget this encounter that took my joy away”, she said in tears.
‘“ I don’t know why government has failed to end such attacks. But for the effective media coverage, nobody would know what happens within and outside the areas affected by herdsmen attacks”.