When Fulani Herdsmen stormed Ariri community, in Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State at 11.30 pm. At first, everyone in the community believed it was the Task Force on duty.
Following several gunshots, residents found out they had suspected herdsmen to contend with.
The gunmen were said to have marched to the home of the Aghos, slaughtering its breadwinner, Samuel Agho, who tied to prevent the assailants from raping one of his daughters.
In this interview with Crime Guard, one of the children, Helen Agho, describes the October 2018 incident that has forever changed the course of their lives.
She said: “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 11.30 pm, I heard a loud bang a 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 a 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 younger 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 raping my younger sister stabbed my father and left.
I ran out of the house, to the village and rushed into a building on which door was opened. I stayed there until 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 the 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”.