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Buda: Escaping Abduction In A Southern Kaduna Village. But For How Long?

Barely four days after the mass abduction of about 280 schoolchildren in Kaduna, Nigeria, Dahiru Abdullahi and Idris Umar narrowly escaped another mass abduction in a nearby village when terrorists attacked again. But their relatives were not so fortunate. 

Idris Umar, 19, bolted up in the dead of night four days after the infamous abduction of about 280 school children from Kuriga in Kaduna, Nigeria, last week.

It was his elder brother who shook him awake. Their village, Buda, which is situated under the Kajuru Local Government Area in Kaduna, was under attack, he said. Catapulted by fear, they jumped out of the window and scaled the fence to the main house. Behind them, the sound of their door crashing open was deafening. They did not look back.    

“I scaled the fence again into a neighbour’s house,” Umar, who is a sales apprentice, told HumAngle. He then sneaked into the closest bedroom to hide, and saw four others crammed under the bed. There was no space for him to squeeze in, so he stood, clinging to the wall as though it could somehow let him in. Unfortunately, when the terrorists burst into the room, he was captured. 

Umar was ordered to hand over his phone and money. Then, his assailants hit him with a stick all the way back to his own bedroom. They turned the room upside down, looking for valuables, even though he told them he had no money. They snatched his phone but got distracted when they saw the tea condiments stashed away in one of the drawers. They became so interested in it that they forgot about the phone. 

“They packed the tea condiments and took me alongside three other people. Two women with babies on their backs and another man. They threatened to shoot if I tried to run.” 

Undeterred, Umar whispered to his fellow captives that he would run if he got the chance. He stressed that he was willing to do this at the risk of getting shot. A man tried to discourage him at first, but they would end up running together, leaving the women behind. 

“They put us in front and asked us to hurry as they walked behind us. But when the soldiers started shooting, I took the chance and ran.” 

Apparently, not all the terrorists had guns, and because of the soldiers, their leaving became more important than hunting down the escapees. Even though Umar was lucky enough to escape, some of his relatives were unable to. 

It would not be the first time Umar would escape capture. Once, in 2022, when terrorists attacked Buda around 9 p.m., he and several others successfully fled the settlement. 

This time, Umar had to visit a pharmacy due to the injury he sustained while scaling the fence. “I was given an injection and drugs,” he said.

Sixty-one people were reportedly abducted during the March 11 attack. In the span of a week, three states in Northern Nigeria – Kaduna, Borno, and Sokoto have witnessed four mass abductions.

More victims speak

Dahiru Abdullahi, 23, has lived his entire life in Buda, except when he left to further his primary and secondary school education in Kajuru town and later proceeded to the Federal College of Education, Zaria, where he studied Hausa Social Studies. 

“I completed my education in 2022. Since I learnt how to sew in the past, I am currently working as a tailor,” he said. 

Abdullahi has always been lucky in evading the terrorists because most of the attacks happened while he was in school, but he has relatives who have been affected by past attacks. They were not so fortunate during the latest incident.

“My Uncle, his wife and other extended relatives are currently in captivity. The terrorists took the people into the forest in batches. For instance, if they abducted four or five people, they will assign like three terrorists to cart them away,” he explained.

The terror gang had knocked on the first door, and when the owner opened up, they beat him up and interrogated him. Then they moved to the next house. Sometimes, when residents failed to open their doors, they shot their way through.

“When they reached our door, we refused to open up, and we were lucky that they couldn’t get in.” 

According to Abdullahi, the people taken from the village that night of March 11 were over 56. But Punch, a Nigerian newspaper, gave an estimate of 61 abductions. 

While some of the victims were beaten, one of Abdullahi’s neighbours was shot in his room when he was found hiding in the ceiling. The bullet got him in the throat. Fortunately for him, he survived the attack and is currently in the hospital, Abdullahi told HumAngle. 

A history of terror 

The last time Buda was attacked was in 2022. “This is like the third time they did a mass abduction. This one has the highest number of kidnapped people. They probably would have taken more if the soldiers didn’t arrive on time,” Abdullahi said. 

In the past, the terrorists would call a leader in the village and demand ransom. Then, the villagers would pool resources so their loved ones would be released. 

Once, the military came in droves to conduct an investigation. Buda is about a 30-minute drive from Kajuru town. Due to the state of the roads, it takes long before security arrives, making it necessary to notify them on time to reduce casualties, HumAngle gathered.

“The soldiers came and did some investigations before leaving around 7 a.m. the next morning. They asked us to notify them quickly if anything happens again.” 

In Buda, the terror gangs usually go into shops and forcefully take things away from people. Sometimes, they pay, but most times, they do not. “And if a shop owner refuses to sell anything to them, they will take it by force. They also forcefully take away people’s motorcycles or go into phone charging shops and take away cell phones.”

Abdullahi added that most of the people in Buda are farmers, and there were many times that terrorists made it difficult for them to farm in the past. However, they enjoyed a period of reprieve until the recent attack.

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