The mother claims that her three children were ambushed and beheaded by a gang who stole their heads as they fled.
Cecilia’s story was told in Tiv through an interpreter. She identified the three slain children as Terdors, a girl, 10; Terna Embelga, a boy, 8, and Sulumshima Embelga, a girl, 6.
The three of them went to bath in a nearby stream called Jookwa alongside eight other children around 5pm on October 30.
“When they (all the 11 children) finished swimming, they decided to fetch water with their buckets for their use at home. On their homeward journey along the bush path, two men suddenly emerged from a farm rice and grabbed one of my three children in the group by the neck.
“While the other children in the group threw away the buckets of water they were carrying amid the ambush and ran for their dear lives, my two other children decided to fight back and rescue their sibling from the assailants.
“The escaped children brought the news home. Immediately, my husband, fellow villagers and I mobilised to the scene of the attack where we found the headless bodies of the three children in a pool of blood. It was horrifying.
“Beholding the headless bodies, I thought I would die. There were other items lying on the ground at the scene of the crime.
“The items include a weird looking cap, substances believed to be hard drugs and a blood stained shirt. “We didn’t see the heads of the children. They may have been taken away for ritual purposes.
“I had four children. With three of them killed in cold blood, I am left with only one that I am breastfeeding. It all shows the seriousness of the insecurity in the land,” she wept.
One of the villagers, Shiaondo Juku, deplored the insecurity in the state that “led to the killing of the children”, saying government must get to the root of the incident with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book. Juku stated that he usually saw strangers (labourers) working in the rice farm from which the suspected assailants reportedly emerged to attack the children.
He quoted the children who survived the attack as saying, as of the time they were swimming in Jookwan Stream, the labourers were working in the rice farm.
“The surviving children told us that when they were swimming, the workers were still on the farm. The children also disclosed that the two men that came after them came from the farm area. But by the time we got the information about the attack and rushed to the scene to rescue the three children, nobody was on the farm again. What we saw were the headless bodies.“
”We will like to know the whereabouts of the labourers because they are no more in the village and the farm owner has gone ahead to bring some other labourers into the farm to work for him. Those ones we are seeking to know their whereabouts have disappeared and to me there is something suspicious”
“Taraba State Police Command Public Relations Officer, ASP David Misal, confirmed the incident and said the command was investigating the crime.“
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