Sunday, 1 August 2021

I Watched In Horror As Gunman Took Away My Five Kids ....Woman Relives Her Ordeal


May 30, 2021 will remain etched in the memory of Mrs. Hadiza Hashim of Tegina, Niger State for the rest of her life. It was the day armed men stormed her children’s Islamic school in the town and kidnapped all five of them, including a two-year-old toddler.

Nothing, perhaps, provoked her agony and helplessness more than the screaming of the kids as the gunmen made away with them.

She recalls seeing from her hiding place one of the terrorists carrying her youngest child in his arm into captivity.

“I saw my two-year-old carried by a man with a gun. He was shouting at the boy to shut up because he was screaming for me, his mother. I couldn’t do anything,” Mrs Hashim told the BBC.

Although Walid and Rahama, the youngest of her five abducted children, have since been released, the remaining three are still in the kidnappers’ den.

They were among the more than 100 children kidnapped from the school on that day.

While many of the more than 1,000 children abducted have been released, often after extortionate ransom amounts were reportedly paid, hundreds of families are still desperately waiting for news of their children, the BBC reported.

Umma, 13, is the eldest of Mrs. Hashim’s children and loves watching cartoons like Tom and Jerry with her younger brothers and sisters. Wracked with anxiety, her mother has not heard from them since the kidnapping incident.

The woman said on the fateful day, a Sunday, she had rushed to the school after hearing gunshots. Forced to take cover for her own safety, from her hiding place she saw dozens of armed men enter the school.

She said: “They broke the padlock and started shouting for the children to remove their shoes, to prevent them from running away. The children started screaming for their parents.

“I saw my two-year-old carried by a man with a gun. He was shouting at the boy to shut up because he was screaming for me, his mother. I couldn’t do anything.”

The two younger children are traumatised by the experience. Mrs Hashim describes how they wake up in the middle of the night screaming, terrified they will be taken again. They keep asking where their elder sisters and brother are, why their beds remain empty.

Mrs Hashim teaches science in a nearby junior school, now closed because of the insecurity caused by criminal gangs. The kidnappers have asked for N50 million ransom to release the children.

Parents of the missing children are desperately trying to raise funds.

She fears her children are being forgotten because they are poor.

“People have ignored what has happened because they are the children of nobodies. If they were the children of somebody, they wouldn’t be left in the wilderness for weeks with no news.  It wouldn’t be allowed,” she said

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