Dozens of Women Victims Escape Attention of Nigerian Media
By Masara Kim, Jos, and Adakole Daniel, Makurdi
[Makurdi] As U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken huddled with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on November 5, Ms. Mbapuun Uwa was groaning from injuries caused gang rape in Benue State, Nigeria. Uwa is among 2 million citizens of Benue forcibly displaced by Muslim terrorists, and among dozens of women gang raped by terrorists, yet her situation stands in high contrast to Western media uproar over displacement of Palestinians in Israel.
Blinken, who is advocating for a humanitarian pause of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza made it clear during his meeting with Abbas that “Palestinians must not be forcibly displaced,” NBC reports. The visit followed after Palestinian officials claimed an Israeli strike on a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip killed 47 people and wounded dozens more on November 5.
Fighting broke out after Hamas terrorists killed more than 1,400 people in unprovoked attacks in Israel on Oct. 7. The house-to-house raiding terrorists took as many as 242 hostages triggering brutal response by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).
The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza has claimed at least 9,448 Palestinians have been killed in the war. In the occupied West Bank, more than 140 Palestinians have been killed in the violence, with the U.S. authorities taking steps to ease tensions.
Blinken previously had held talks in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who insisted there could be no temporary cease-fire until all hostages held by Hamas are released. President Joe Biden suggested Saturday that progress is being made on the humanitarian pause.
Yet, terrorists besieging towns 3,200 miles away in Nigeria, committing mass killings and sexual assaults on vulnerable women, have gone unnoticed by the U.S. authorities.
“They kill men and rape women”
On November 3rd, the Nigerian military loudly announced they thwarted a planned terrorist attack in the northwestern state of Kano. At the same time, just 416 miles to the south in the majority Christian state of Benue, terrorists have continued their assault of farming communities, brutally killing male residents and sexually assaulting women, according to a local priest.
“Sometimes they rape them and let them go, but in most cases, they rape them and kill them still,” said Rev. Fr. Cletus Bua, the priest in charge of St. Francis Xavier Parish Agagbe which gives aid for more than 15,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs).
“As I’m speaking to you the Fulani have taken over eight council wards [districts] in Gwer West Local Government [equivalent of a county],” said Fr. Bua in a telephone interview with TruthNigeria. “More than 50 catholic outstations have been closed down due to the attacks, which are gradually closing in on the Parish headquarters in Agagbe and we don’t even know what to do,” Bua said.
The Fulani, a large ethnic group in west Africa with an estimated 10 million members in Nigeria has among its ranks influential political elites as well militant Islamic extremists. These militants have been blamed for thousands of genocidal massacres in Nigeria, killing six times more citizens than Boko Haram according to Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, an international monitoring group in the United Kingdom.
This year alone, Fulani militants killed more than 2,500 Christians in Nigeria as of June, according to Intersociety, an international nonprofit which monitors and advocates against genocide. Approximately 520 residents were killed in Benue, reports Intersociety.
Between May 4th and October 18th, the militants killed at least 153 people in Benue, according to the Foundation for Justice, Development and Peace (HFDP), a Catholic mission in Makurdi, the state capital.
15 women raped in October alone
In the latest wave of attacks between October 21 and 30, at least 12 people lost their lives, including a relative of the state police spokeswoman, Josephine Anene, TruthNigeria has learned.
At least 13 women were raped by the terrorists during the period. HFDP reports at least two people were raped prior to October 21.
Most of the attacks originating in the Gwer West county were ignored by the Nigerian press.
In one instance on October 29, Fulani terrorists killed five people in Gwer West and raped a woman who tried to escape, Bua told TruthNigeria.
Terrorists armed with assault rifles launched sporadic attacks near the town of Agagbe on a sunny morning on October 29, killing five people, Bua said. The attacks targeted starving displaced residents who went in search of food amid widespread hunger and starvation plaguing the five camps in the town, Bua said.
“When I regained consciousness, I was naked”
Mrs. Mbapuun Uwa, a survivor of one of the attacks told TruthNigeria she was gang-raped by more than three armed terrorists who killed a man who had accompanied her to go fishing.
Uwua, 40, had lost her husband in a terrorist attack in Tse-Avan village in February 2022. Forced to live in the RCM IDP camp in Agagbe with her five children, she couldn’t bear the hunger and starvation in the camp and ventured to find fish in a nearby river on October 29.
On her way back, she and her companion were attacked at approximately 10:30 am locally, leading to his death and her rape to the point of unconsciousness, she said.
“We were on our way home when we suddenly heard gunshots,” said Uwa to TruthNigeria. “We both ran in different directions,” said Uwa.
“One group followed him, and another group ran after me. I could not run fast. They soon caught up with me and hit me with a stick. When I fell down, they beat me till I passed out. When I woke up much later, I was naked and couldn’t walk,” she said through an interpreter.
According to a medical report obtained from a local clinic by TruthNigeria, Uwa sustained severe internal injuries including in her private part during the attack. The injuries are so grievous the Catholic Primary healthcare Agagbe had to refer her to an advanced hospital in Makurdi the state capital. But Uwa told TruthNigeria she is helpless and unable to afford her own treatment.
‘Ashamed to speak’
Uwa was one of at least 13 women raped by terrorists in Benue last October, according to TruthNigeria investigations. A previous victim of a similar assault, Lydia Birem, told TruthNigeria Fulani terrorists raped 12 of them on October 2 in Guma County.
According to the mother of six, more than a dozen men armed with assault rifles swarmed over a small forest in the Nyev area where the 13 women were gathering firewood and ordered them to follow them.
“They divided us into groups and herded us away in different directions where they forced themselves on us,” Birem said tearfully. TruthNigeria identified two other victims of the day’s assault, all seeking shelter at an IDP camp in Ortese town but wouldn’t speak to press.
Uwa and Birem are among dozens of victims who have been courageous to speak. Several cases in the acclaimed “breadbasket state” have remained unreported because victims are too ashamed to speak, said an official of FJDP to TruthNigeria on background.
‘Like Hamas, like Fulani terrorists’
“By raping and torturing vulnerable survivors of genocide, these jihadist barbarians take whatever dignity and hope their victims have left,” wrote Dede Laugesen, the Executive Director of Save the Persecuted.
“Sadly, they perpetrate with impunity because so much of the world will not pay attention and extend aid and compassion to women and children enduring hell on earth,” wrote Laugesen in a text message to TruthNigeria.
“Having visited multiple IDP camps in Benue this year, I have witnessed firsthand the trauma of women and children stripped of everything by hateful, anti-Christian Fulani terrorists the rest of the world knows little about,” Laugesen wrote.
“Like Hamas, they attack peaceful, sleepy, farming communities. They hack and shoot anything that moves. They hack babies to bits in front of parents and murder parents in front of children. They have left a humanitarian crisis of 6 million internally displaced people, most are defenseless women and children.
Unfortunately, the Biden administration acts as though these victims do not exist. Why is that? Is it, I have to ask, because they’re black? Or, because they’re black Christians? No matter, their plight demands an international response,” Laugesen wrote.
The violations are a regular occurrence in Benue, said Rev. Fr. Bua. “It is happening every week, sometimes daily,” he said.
Sexual violence by terrorists seeking to impose an Islamic caliphate in Africa’s most populous county according to lawmakers speaking to TruthNigeria has been confirmed by Church leaders in the battered northern region.
“In areas where there is ongoing violence like Benue, they use coercion,” said Rev. Joseph Hayab, the Vice Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in the country’s north.
“In areas where they have succeeded in taking over communities and are in control of social and economic life, they use hunger and starvation to compel women into submission,” said Hayab who is also the CAN Chairman in Kaduna State.
Masara Kim is the senior editor of TruthNigeria.com. Adakole Daniel is a conflict researcher in Makurdi, Benue.