Victims – Episode 1
A Story By Rosemary Okafor
Jos, Nigeria August 29 2001.
Unguwan Rogo woke up to a violent crisis. Some called it religious crises, but to Ukwuoma, it was horror.
Sounds of guns, dark smokes that covered the sky as men and beast burnt in anguish, religious chants from young men intoxicated by anger and thirst for blood, pandemonium as victims tried to escape, running blindly and colliding with each other.
Those militants, they were everywhere, butchering and hacking their victims into pieces.
Fanatics have decided to rid the state of infidels.
‘‘Mama Okey!!!” She heard Uwa (Mama) Musa calling her while ban-ging on the door
‘‘Mama Okey, open o. Abeg time no dey o, you still dey sleep you wan die?”
She rushed to the door and Uwa Musa let herself in with a f0rç£ that nearly pushed her down.
‘‘Mama Okey, Wey the sidren (children) dey? oya bring them make Una begin go.”
Ukwuoma was more confused;
‘‘Go where? What is happening?” she asked Uwa Musa who has alre-ady gone to the be-droom to gather the children. She c@m£ back to the sitting room with Okey and Onyema, who were slee-ping before she r0ûghly lifted them from the be-d. The seriousness in her face told Ukwuoma that something was not right,
‘‘Mama Okey, u no no we-tin dey happen? abeg no dey ask question, oya make we see whether we go still find road cross you and the sidren go army barrack”
In a hurry, Uwa Musa, her neighbor who sells ‘Wake ’ alone the road told her of the crisis while shaking her vigorously.
News of crisis rocking some remote villages in plateau state of Nigeria made the news some weeks, with the state government ensuring the people that the government is on t©p of the situation.
The state government also as-sured of the security and safety of the State capital, Jos. The sudden eruption of this crisis took the inhabitants of Jos unawares.
‘‘What of my husband? He is not yet back from the clinic” ukwuoma answered.
‘‘Ah Mama Okey! Dokita go find em way o, make we go barrack with this sidren first then u fit call
Dokita your husband”
‘‘Okechuku plea-se bring down that box On t©p of…..”
‘‘Ah! Iyamiri!! abeg no pack anything o, this people fit meet us here o” Uwa musa cut in
Disaster met them immediately, there was a ban-g at the door with a f0rç£ that broke the door letting in some group of blood thirsty looking men, chanting religious war song, holding a half dead papa Okey with his lim-bs amputated.
‘‘Way dokita woman!” one of the men asked. His dark face smeared with blood, with his teeth darkened probably out of tobacco, and some p@rt of the front teeth alre-ady gone
‘‘I say way dokita woman!!” he shouted again.
‘‘Daddy” Okey screamed, running towards his daddy,
Like in horror movies,Okechukwu’s head flew out of his b©dy, as one of the men re-moved the head of the little boy with just one swing of his machete. The head st©pped exactly in front of her with her son’s eyes wi-de open staring at her and his mouth moved as if he was calling her ‘mummy’.
She went cold like a statue with no tears or voice left in her. She was yet to un-derstand what was happening to her, when Onyema, who was now crying and trying to hide behind her was dragged by one of the men, she fought for her son not to be taking like the other, she cried and kicked like a wounded tigress but how could she overpower them, with the horror of seeing her husband in their clutch, like a slaughtered pork samples in a meat sto-re, and the lifeless head and lim-bs of her son, a deafening sl@p on her face, gave her a temporal relief, and s£nt her to total darkness.
Like solders sharing the spoils of war, they took turn to plea-sure themselves in her weakness, her woman-hood abused beyond mercy
Not knowing how long she had been on the floor in the pool of the blood and b©dy p@rts of her loved ones, Ukwuoma stared, at first she thought it was all a nightmare, then stabs of pain jo-lted her back to reality, she sat up and her eyes roamed around what used to be her sitting room, and the pictures of her dead family members c@m£ back to her, their b©dy p@rts scattered like animals on an ancient Egyptian sacrificial alter re-ady for Ra, the sun god. It all c@m£ back to her, the pain, the sorrow and the tears that refused to flow, the thick odor of dry blood filled the room. She sobbe-d, not like any other sob, but a bitter gro-an .
To be continued