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Peace or Pieces – #SecureNorth

Our entire town was shaken by what happened to Yaha, we could not wrap our heads around how another human being could attack his fellow human with such brutality. What wrong has Yaha ever done to those people? When we got the news Zahra and I broke down Yaha has been a part of our group since we were toddlers, it has always been the three of us against the world now only the two of us remain. I still cannot get the picture of her Corpse being taken to the cemetery out of my mind. Sleep became a thing of the past, every time I close my eyes all I can see is the brutal seen of her murder. My mind kept coming up with horrible scenes of her last moments on earth, the terror she must have felt being raped and then chopped into pieces like a lamb to the slaughter, she was a human being! Somebody’s sisters! Somebody’s child and our friend but to them she was just another victim in a series of victims, they took her innocence and in the end all that was left behind was a pile of bones and bits of flash.

At the funeral, all you could hear was the wails of Gwoggo as she lamented the death of her poor daughter. “My poor daughter! How could they do this to her she was on her way home from an errand I sent her and the next morning but she did not listen she said she could make it back home before nightfall, Oh! The times have changed my poor Yaha! She burst into inconsolable tears after that will do other women of the community offered words of comfort “but what about her siblings wasn’t she with them at the time?” Tamasi, the storyteller of our community asked and soon the discussion turned to speculations on what could have possibly happened to her two siblings. They found Yaha’s body but her siblings were nowhere to be found.

Zahra nudged me and said

Lado is finally here! We quickly walked over to meet him. Lado is a bit of an oddball in the community, he is the first person to attend University in the community so he does not really fit in with the rest of the villagers, and he is always trying to get the villagers to rise up against the bandits using one scheme or the other. The others never really paid attention to him but Zara, Yaha, his best friend Garba and I found his ideas impressive so we always listen to him.

I squeezed through the mourners and went straight to him while Zahra followed. Lado where have you been?  Has the government claimed responsibility already? Oh yes don’t be wondering who are the government, We call the terrorists the government since they are the ones governing us now, dictating how we do things, taking away our farm produce, deciding who to gets married, to whom and at what time that’s after we have paid the “marriage allowance” to their leaders. They also get to decide on who to survive, rape or free. We are always living in fear while some have ran mad already. Though Lado says the trauma of the event they have witnessed makes them behave in a certain way, which we see as insane.

 I have got a plan” lado said as i approached him, what is the plan I asked. Neutralize the tear gas, he added. I was like what? I asked and saw people turning towards my direction after that I realized how loud I was. It must be because of my hearing impairments. I noticed a change on how I hear after the explosions of bombs early this year in our village. Since then people have called me “deaf”. He repeated himself and said you know we have to learn to stop it from spreading in the air immediately because of how it affects us. You must know that when you are exposed to tear gas, your eyes sting, and your vision blurs, and you cry and blink uncontrollably. It gets worse the longer you are in the gas: After a few seconds, you will not be able to see, which will disorient and confuse you, potentially to the point of emotional and psychological distress.


However, that is not all. The powder also irritates your airways, making it hard to breathe, and causes your chest to tighten. You will start coughing automatically and your nose and mouth will secrete copious amounts of mucus and saliva. Which is why you must understand the consequences and what you are signing in for. “Oh that’s a good knowledge, Zahra exclaimed, what do we do now. I think we should get a better space to discuss more, Garba came in, and we moved in-group.

 We do not need a lot of things, Lado said as we sat at the backyard of late Yaha’s house. All we need is a wet rag to cover the opening on the gas canister and make sure to cover our eyes with something like a transparent plastic, a scarf or bandana or a t-shirt.  We all have to be vigilant; Lado emphasized and exercise minimal precautions. Where on earth can we get a transparent plastic? I said, he said Laure it’s not a big deal it’s available in town people there use it to protect themselves from the new virus that emerged, Lado said.

We gave Lado and Garba the little money left with us to buy the facemask. Even though he said, it is not necessary we could use the other items listed and goggles. Before we ended the meeting more people from the vigilante group joined.

Two days later, a message was sent from our attackers that they were coming because of our community’s failure to comply with their set of rules. As we were deliberating on the matter, we saw the sky turning cloudy. Lado quickly dispatched our equipment and we went out to the war ground. We saw people lying and coughing uncontrollably. We moved some while others choked to death.

A lot were running helter skelter while we were struggling to find the canisters and rap a wet rag around the holes using heat-resistance leather gloves. We picked them and dropped them in the small baskets and cartons each of was holding to save safely. Our higher ranked vigilantes are on the for-front exchanging arrows with the terrorists. Lado’s idea has helped so much in clearing the sky and paving way for our Vigilantes, which Lado and Garba were among to battle head to head with the attackers.

 The vigilantes are well equipped with cutlass, “gora”, arrows, and some out dated guns.

It was a successful encounter. The casualties were less and many attackers were withheld.

I woke up trembling in fear, shaking uncontrollably as my heart palpitations rises, I looked up to analyze where i was before I finally realized it was all a Dream! I thanked the Almighty for sparing my life and for making it to be a dream.

Imagine how you wake up frightened after you have a nightmare.

Therefore, this is how many families in the northeastern part of this country become traumatized not just today or yesterday but it has been happening for years and it is happening right now around the northern part. People are being violently repressed.  They witness such not just in a bad dream but also in reality. The trauma is lifetime; all they need is Peace not Pieces??

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