It was a sorrowful nightfall for two members of the National Youth Service Corps last Wednesday in Asarama Community, Andoni Local Government Area, Rivers State, after they were robbed and raped by suspected militants.
The victims were said to be in bed at their unsecured lodge in an isolated part of the community when gunmen broke into their rooms to rob and rape them.
The operation which started at midnight lasted for more than two hours, with two female corps members raped, and phones, food stuff, clothes, shoes, money among others carted away.
One of the victims who didn’t want her name in print explained that the gunmen numbering seven wore face caps except for the ring leader, who was hooded.
She said the gunmen hinged their actions on the failure of the government to pay them their dues.
“The gunmen broke the door with their legs. No burglary proof or protector. We were about seven in the lodge. We had five serving Corps members, one ex-corps member and one other person. They entered my room and I was told to knock on other rooms. They came here with guns and cutlasses. They were about seven in number. They asked all of us out of our rooms and they led all of us into an empty room. Then later they came to ask if we had any male Corps member because the lodge is like a wing.
“It was the first wing they robbed in the first hour of the operation. In that first wing, we had just one male Corps member; so they took him to the other room and beat him with a cutlass. They asked him to pull his trousers.
‘’We, the girls were packed in an empty room and they told us to stand up one after the other and they led us to our rooms. Some phones were collected and luckily for some of us, our phones were not with us because we were charging it. I had my phone with me but immediately they came, I hid my phone because they did not come with a torch. It was our torch they were collecting. There has not been light in our lodge since we started serving. We have been using a generator set and we don’t put it on overnight. So there was no light and they didn’t come with any source of light.
“They asked me to put on my torch. They asked us how much we had as they led us to our rooms. As they were doing that, they were beating, slapping and hitting us. They searched the rooms and asked us to bring the money. So I think because I was fidgeting, I told them the amount I didn’t have. The one I had I gave them and they were asking for the remaining one. I was still checking when one of them came in to scatter all my stuff. And I was trying to tell him that was just all I had. They asked me to kneel down and went into other people’s room to do the same thing.
“When he came back into my room, he locked the door and asked me to look for the money, else he would kill me. I told them that I didn’t have any money apart from the one I already gave them. Then he (gunmen) asked me to pull my dress, and I was actually raped that night. I struggled but he overpowered me. He was beating and slapping me. The marks are still on my body. He was the one who had the gun with him and he had already locked the door on us. One other female Corps member was raped in our room too.
After that, he told me to lie faced down on my bed, then also took some things from my room and left. He told me to lock the door when he left and warned that I shouldn’t open the door for any other person that when he wants to come, he would knock.
Then I was hearing footsteps; I think they were carrying the food stuff that they saw in other rooms. They went to the other wing where they met two men and a lady and they collected their phones, foods stuff, clothes, shoes, and some plates too. All these lasted for more than two hours. They sounded local and they were saying “since the government did not pay us; no vex o. All these things, na hunger cause am.