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Adaeze Lawrence

A female survivor of Monday Gidan Bawa bus attack by bandits in Isa local government of Sokoto state has her life completely changed for the worst by the attack.

The about 48-year-old Sabon Birni woman, named Shafa’atu, whose almost entire body was burnt, is receiving medical attention at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital in Sokoto.

Daily Star Nigeria visited her and she narrated her ordeal:

“We were on a bus, 33 adults and the rest passengers were children, when suddenly gunmen appeared and started shooting at our vehicle. The bus somersaulted and I just found myself on the ground with burns. Nine of my family members were burnt in the bus. My 3 daughters, 10-month-old boy was burnt on my back, my mother, my niece, my nephew, my immediate younger brother and my maternal uncle were all burnt in the bus”.

“Myself and a man escaped miraculously but the man later died from gunshot wounds”.

“My baby boy was on my back but he got burnt too, my other three daughters were all grownups and I lost all of them”, she said in a trembling voice.

Shafa’atu said that one of her nephews, whose parents had earlier died and was brought to her mother for care, was also burnt along side her mother.

“You can’t imagine what feels when, as a mother, you watch your your children and your mother and four other relatives you were just laughing with, get burn to ashes and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Shafa’atu’s maternal uncle, simply identified as Muhammadu (not real name), who is taking care of Shafa’atu at the hospital, said he participated in the funeral rites of the victim.

Muhammadu said their situation was beyond belief so much that “it’s so painful that it’s not even painful because we don’t even know what to feel.”

Meanwhile, Sokoto State Police Commissioner, Kamaldeen Okunola, who briefed journalists after a closed session with Governor Tambuwal on Wednesday, said “the total number of people in the bus which the bandits shot at causing a conflagration, 23 died of fire burns while six sustained minor injuries and are receiving treatment at a hospital.

Shafa’atu and other survivors’ of the incident interviewed by Daily Star Nigeria were not seen with minor injuries.

Shafa’atu has over 60% of her body burnt and abd was about to be rolled into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital while a man at Sabon Birni hospital had severe burns on one of his legs and some parts of his body.

There is a serious outrage in Sokoto and many states over the incident and insecurity in the northwest.

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