Call them monsters, you may be right. Others may even prefer to tag them minions, which may also fit. The description is not what the police in Katsina are looking for at the moment. They are searching for two men who took turns to rape a year old baby right in the presence of her mother.
With the manhunt not yielding any result and the initial two suspects arrested now free, the traumatised mother of the defiled baby last weekend fled her village with the victim, obviously for safety of mother and child.
Some of the rape reports may well be described as bizarre even as the perceived motives remain mind-boggling perhaps comparable only to the age-long tales by moonlight. When in March a 57-year-old Katsina man defiled her seven months old step-daughter, he justified the action arguing that he merely executed an advice revealed to him in a dream designed to cure him of his self-confessed several years of unbridled quest to always have sex.
Caught in the act and later paraded before reporters by the police in Katsina, Salisu Magaji of Mamadi village in Jikamshi local government area confirmed that, “I actually raped the seven months old baby girl. I actually had a dream about the incident because I womanise. My first wife is late. She had six children for me. I thought God had helped me overcome the habit of going after women until when I married this woman who came into my house with a baby. So, it was revealed to me in the dream that if I rape this girl I will stop womanising.” It is not known yet if it worked for him since he has been in prison and undergoing trial but the baby eventually died after two weeks at the Turai Yar’Adua Maternal and Child Hospital in Katsina.
Another confirmed rapist who is also an armed robber, Abdulbashir Bishir, 26, says a witch doctor recommended sexual contact for him to enable a talisman against gunshots become effective. When he was eventually caught raping a 13 years old girl, Bishir explained that, “the herbalist gave me the charm which he said I should use to rub my sperm after having sex with the girl and that after that, I should throw the talisman in a graveyard. I held her hand, we entered into the house and I rubbed my joystick on her body but I never had sex with her. She is 13-year-old.”
Some of the highly placed in society are also involved in the rape mania as a senior member of the Katsina State Emirate Council recently lost his position and being tried in court for allegedly having an unlawful sexual relationship with 15 years old girl who was in his house on an errand from her parents. After having his way, the accused reportedly gave the girl N3,000 to take care of herself. She informed her parents and was later taken to the hospital where doctors confirmed she was raped.
Earlier in February, a Katsina Senior Magistrate Court heard the case of a 20-year-old man, Babangida Saidu, of Shargalle town in Dutsi local government area who was alleged to have sexually assaulted a six-year-old girl in the premises of Shargalle primary school where Babangida reportedly lured his prey. And, in January, the court heard the case of 56-year-old man, Ibrahim Shehu, of Kofa Guga in Katsina metropolis who forcefully defiled 12-year-old girl and offered her N60 thereafter.
The latest absurdity
In fact, according to the police, the issue of rape, especially involving minors has become routine in Katsina even as the police are still on the trail of two men suspected to have defiled a year old baby girl at Angwan Bawa village in Danja local government area, on May 9.
The suspects reportedly snatched the baby from her mother and took turns to rape her while the mother, Suwaiba, watched helplessly. The baby was treated and discharged at the Funtua General Hospital, according to the police and family. When our correspondent visited the area on Tuesday, the woman had fled her home with the baby. But the husband, Ahmadu Jbril, 50, father of 10 children from two women, said. “I learnt that some people advised her to run away”, adding that, “she ran away from the house at night (on May 19) and I understand it is her mother from the other village who aided her.”
How they did it
He narrated the story as reported by the wife. According to him, “on the day of the incident, Suwaiba was walking by the road when she met one Alhaji Saleh who she knows. He asked her if she was going to Bakori but she said she was going to Ungwan Malamai village in Danja local government area. So, Alhaji Saleh linked her up with two young men on a motorcycle who said they would take her to her destination. However, on the way, they stopped near a forest and asked her to handover the baby to them. She refused but they seized the baby and raped her one after the other in the presence of the mother.
Then they fled on their motorcycle. When we reported the incident at the Central Police station in Funtua, Alhaji Saleh who linked her up with the two men was arrested. Suwaiba took the baby to the hospital and it was confirmed that she was raped. The police took Alhaji Saleh to Katsina but he managed to come back. So, Suwaiba was advised to run away with her baby and it is her mother who encouraged and helped her to run away.”
The villagers described the Alhaji Saleh “as a very rich man who lives in Katsina and Funtua and he wears gold tooth.”
At the police headquarters in Katsina, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Gambo Isa, confirmed the initial arrest of two persons, Saleh Suleiman and a certain Musa. But, according to him, “we have since released the two of them because our investigations showed that they had nothing to do with the matter. It was just a coincidence that they were around the area when the thing happened. And, it was also a coincidence that one of them goes by the name, Saleh, which is not the same Saleh that the woman talked about.”
Lawmakers raise concerns
The issue of reported rape cases has apparently attracted the attention of the National Assembly as the Senate last Tuesday decried what it described as rising cases of sexual abuse in parts of the country.
According to the Senate Deputy Majority Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, in a motion tagged, ‘Urgent need to investigate the alarming rate of rape and sexual assault against women, children and vulnerable people across the country,’ said that, “the Senate notes the frightening increase in cases of sexual violence, notably rape, where more than half of the victims are minors, children below the age of consent.
“The Senate further notes that in most of these cases, the perpetrators are usually familiar neighbours, employers of labour and close family members; and it is concerned that the activities of these sexual predators constitute a serious security threat to the larger segment of our society and are severely underreported.
“The Senate is disturbed that on a nearly daily basis, our newspapers are awash with reports of rape and other sexual violence. It observes that these acts portray the country in a bad light and are alien to both our cultural and religious orientation as a people.”
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