Death and Rape — Through the Eyes of Surviving Minors in Zaria

The military clampdown on members of the Islamic Movement Of Nigeria (IMN) in Zaria, Kaduna State continues to take a toll on the survivors who were still minors when the violence erupted seven years ago.

In December 2015, members of IMC otherwise known as Shiites had a dispute with the men of the Nigerian Army led by the former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Yusuf Burtai. Death and detention trailed the aftermath of the incident.

The residence of the IMN leader, Ibrahim Al Zakzaky was also raided by the soldier, which led to its demolition after killing many adherents.

READ: EXCLUSIVE: Missing Rice, Palm Oil, Bucket — Why Bauchi NDLEA Officials Brutalised Neighbours, Attempted to Rape Nursing Mother

However,  Sani Usman, the then spokesman for the army described the incident as ‘most unfortunate,’ according to Premium Times. But he blamed the group for blocking roads meant for the public.

Almost a decade, survivors of the incident in a podcast produced by HumAngle relived their experience. 

Zainab, as identified, was 11 years old when she witnessed the gory death of her fellow faithful, killed by the soldiers. This distorted her mental health, leading to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

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Currently, she is a patient at the psychiatrist hospital at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. According to her, she still has nightmares from the incident. 

Another victim, Narjis Abdullahi who was 5 at the time, said memories of the brutal attack still remain green in her memory. 

“I can still recall how my mother alongside other women were raped while we were taken to the army barracks,” she recalled. “I was shot in the back. They thought I was dead. But I survived. The gunshots still echo in my head.”

READ: Gombe Man Rapes Minor ‘On Grave’

They also explained the stigmatisation they face in school as their classmates refer to them as members of criminal IMN.

“I lost all my childhood friends to the attack,” Fatima Danladi said. “I have no friends now. Everyone around me treats me like a convict because of how the soldiers portrayed us.” 

Dr Akinwade Oguntuwase, a psychiatrist at the Shika Teaching Hospital, explained that the consequences were expected especially in children exposed to violent scenes at a tender age. He added that anxiety disorder could lead to suicidal thoughts among other effects.


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