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The Youth Who Has To Keep On Hiding

By RUEBEN Buhari

3rd October 2021, around 10 am, Pius (not real name), a 25-year-old, married man, was standing outside his Church in (name withheld) his village in Chikun LGA area of Kaduna state when dozens of bandits riding on motorcycles invaded it. They surrounded the church, walked inside, selected five people they wanted, and left with them. They also stole some of the motorcycles in the village, including Pius’. Some of the abducted villagers were put on bikes while the rest walked on foot, herded by the gunmen into the bush.

The bandits that day had simultaneously shared themselves into three villages of… – three villages within shouting distance of each and simultaneously attacked them. Five were taken from Pius’ village and the others from the other two villages. In one, 46 were taken. Pius was among the few sandwiched between two bandits on his motorcycle when they left. They drove for more than five hours and only stopped when they got to the bank of a river around evening.

When they stopped, they asked Pius to come down while telling the other bandits to proceed. Pius said he knew they were going to kill him. They told him that when they came to his village, they saw him with others standing and guarding the church, saying he must be a member of the village’s vigilante. The reason is that bandits often killed any security man or vigilante they lay hands on.

So Pius instantly made up his mind to go on the offensive as a way of staying alive. He started struggling with them. In the process, he was able to seize the knife one of them was holding and stab him with, killing him. While they were struggling, the other one couldn’t shoot him for fear of hitting his partner. So, after stabbing the one he was struggling with, he turned to the other man, who shot him, but the bullet only grazed his stomach, and he was still able to start struggling with him. The knife he used on the first man fell, but they continued struggling with their hands, leading to the man using his teeth on Pius. But he was able to overcome him, knocking him dead – or so he thought.

Then he picked their guns, walkie-talkies (when the Kaduna state Government shut down telecommunication signals from Wednesday, September 29, 2021, to Friday, November 26, 2021, many of the bandits in the bush resorted to using walkie talkie to communicate among themselves) and threw them into the river before starting to run away from the scene. Unknown to him, the second kidnapper wasn’t dead but only unconscious from all the blows and injuries Pius inflicted.

He walked through the night and got to a village (name withheld) in the morning. When they heard his story, they quickly got some money and took him to a place where he could get a car to a village in Birnin Gwari. From there, he took another vehicle and arrived at Mando around noon. Later that day, he took a motorcycle to his village, but the people told him to leave quickly so the kidnappers would not come looking for him. He promptly left for another location where he is currently taking refuge.

When news got to the kidnapper’s den through the second bandit who didn’t die, the bandits selected four people related to Pius and killed them, according to some victims released weeks later. The bandits also came back to Pius village and attacked it, displacing the people. The survivors abandoned the village.

On why he threw their guns into the river instead of holding them to defend himself. Pius said there was a village close to his where the villagers once resisted the kidnappers, overcame them, and collected their guns. He said the kidnappers came back in large numbers and killed many people in the village, drove the survivor out, and burnt down the whole village. The bandits said nobody would return to the village until the two guns were returned.

Right now, Pius is in hiding and would have to be for a long time to come



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