How Corps Members Were Robbed AndRaped By Suspected Militants In Rivers

Physinews: It was a sorrowful nightfall for two members
of the National Youth Service Corps last
Wednesday in Asarama Community, Andoni
Local Government Area, Rivers State Nigeria, after
they were robbed and raped by suspected
militants.


The victims were said to be in bed at their
unsecured lodge in an isolated part of the
community when the gunmen broke into
their rooms to rob and rape them.


The operation which started at midnight
lasted for more than two hours, with two
female corps members raped, and phones,
food stuff, clothes, shoes, money among
others carted away.

One of the victims who didn’t want her
name in print in a telephone conversation
with The Nation explained that the gunmen
numbering seven wore face caps except for
the ring leader, who was hooded.
She said the gunmen hinged their actions on
the failure of the government to pay them
their dues.

“The gunmen broke the door with their legs.


No burglary proof or protector. We were
about seven in the lodge. We had five
serving Corps members, one ex-corps
member and one other person. They entered
my room and I was told to knock on other
rooms. They came here with guns and
cutlasses. They were about seven in number.

They asked all of us out of our rooms and
they led all of us into an empty room. Then
later they came to ask if we had any male
Corps member because the lodge is like a
wing. It was the first wing they robbed in the
first hour of the operation. In that first wing,
we had just one male Corps member; so they
took him to the other room and beat him
with a cutlass. They asked him to pull his
trousers.

‘’We, the girls were packed in an empty
room and they told us to stand up one after
the other and they led us to our rooms. Some
phones were collected and luckily for some
of us, our phones were not with us because
we were charging it. I had my phone with
me but immediately they came, I hid my
phone because they did not come with a
torch. It was our torch they were collecting.

There has not been light in our lodge since
we started serving. We have been using a
generator set and we don’t put it on
overnight.

So there was no light and they didn’t come
with any source of light. They asked me to
put on my torch. They asked us how much
we had as they led us to our rooms.

As they
were doing that, they were beating, slapping
and hitting us. They searched the rooms and
asked us to bring the money. So I think
because I was fidgeting, I told them the
amount I didn’t have. The one I had I gave
them and they were asking for the
remaining one.

I was still checking when one of them came
in to scatter all my stuff. And I was trying to
tell him that was just all I had. They asked
me to kneel down and went into other
people’s room to do the same thing.


“When he came back into my room, he
locked the door and asked me to look for the
money, else he would kill me. I told them
that I didn’t have any money apart from the
one I already gave them. Then he (gunmen)
asked me to pull my dress, and I was actually
raped that night. I struggled but he
overpowered me. He was beating and
slapping me. The marks are still on my
body. He was the one who had the gun with
him and he had already locked the door on
us. One other female Corps member was
raped in our room too.

After that, he told me to lie faced down on
my bed, then also took some things from my
room and left. He told me to lock the door
when he left and warned that I shouldn’t
open the door for any other person that
when he wants to come, he would knock.

Then I was hearing footsteps; I think they
were carrying the food stuff that they saw in
other rooms. They went to the other wing
where they met two men and a lady and
they collected their phones, foods stuff,
clothes, shoes, and some plates too. All these
lasted for more than two hours. They
sounded local and they were saying “since
the government did not pay us; no vex o. All
these things, na hunger cause am. If
government no pay us, then if we get gun,
we go find our way.’’

Expatiating further, she said: “There is no
police station in that area. And our lodge is
bushy, so even if we called for help, no one
would have heard us. If you are coming into
the community, our lodge is the first house.

It was my pastor who took us to a hospital.

The hospital is in another community
entirely, there is no health facility where our
quarters is located.

“The local inspector, local government
chairman and some other people visited us
in the hospital and took care of our hospital
bill. We were adequately treated and given
drugs to prevent pregnancy or infection.


They told us to leave the place.


“So, the place is under lock now. I feel very
bad. It’s very heartbreaking and
traumatising but I know God has just been
helping me. And with the people around me,
I’ve been so encouraged. I know God knows
about everything that happened and I know
those that did it will not go unpunished.”

She condemned the state of insecurity
especially in hinterland communities like
Asarama saying:

“There was a time they raised an issue that
everybody will be left in his or her own
geopolitical zones, so even if they wouldn’t
want to scrap it, we should be posted within
our geopolitical zones. If I was in my own
place, whatever they were saying, I could
pick up some little things from it when they
were speaking the language and that could
even be used to trace them. But in a place
like that, by 5 or 6pm, you have to be in your
own house and if something happens, you
don’t know how to communicate. Even if
someone is talking about killing you, you
cannot understand to save yourself.
If it will not be scrapped, they should
maintain us in our own geopolitical zones
and they should ensure security measures
because we did not say we wanted to serve.

They made it compulsory for us, so once we
have agreed that we want to serve our
country, they should make sure security
measures are high. There is no security
where we are and I think that was what gave
the gunmen confidence because they know
there is nowhere we can run to for help.”

Meanwhile, other corps members have
become apprehensive since the incident,
especially the females. According to one of
the corps member serving in the same
community, no measures have been instilled
to forestall further attacks in the area. She
said it took the intervention of the Zonal
Inspector to approve their relocation to safer
areas as the Local Inspector insisted they
stay or face harsh consequences.

According to her: “The proximity of our
lodge to the scene coupled with no
guaranteed security had set panic in us, we
don’t know these guys neither do we know
what line of action they would take next, we
just thought it’s better to be proactive and
not just take a harmful risk. So, we all
decided to vacate the lodge and not to
return.’’