23 February 2013

Nigeria: Kano Attack - Rabi Was Seven Months Pregnant When She Was Killed

Shargalle Clinic in Unguwa Uku, Tarauni local government area of Kano State, has suddenly become popular for the wrong reasons. Situated within the neighbourhood of a mosque dedicated to the late Sheikh Jaafar, the clinic has attracted national and international attention following the gruesome killing of nine (8 women and 1 men) polio vaccinators on Saturday, February 9, 2013.

On that fateful day, unknown gunmen opened fire on some health personnel who were collecting polio vaccines for the monthly exercise.

LEADERSHIP WEEKEND gathered that most of the victims of the attack, particularly Khadija Abubakar Ibrahim, Zaharau AbdulRazak and the late Jamila Muhammad, were residents of the same vicinity.

How did the families of the victims receive the news of the dastardly attack? Speaking in their home at Layi Shida, Khadija's elder brother, Jamilu Abubakar Ibrahim, expressed deep shock, saying, "As we heard the sound of gunfire, wondering what was going on in the clinic since it is close by, I suddenly saw my sister in the pool of her own blood. And we quickly rushed her to the hospital."

He was, however, grateful that their mother received the sad news with courage, leaving everything in the hands of the creator.

"Because of our pious upbringing, our mother did not receive the news with much shock, though we never envisaged that such calamity could befall any member of our family. My sister is tolerant, patient, obedient and honest," he said, adding that the authorities of Tarauni local government council picked up her medical bills.

At the Accident and Emergency Ward of the Aminu Kano University Teaching Hospital (AKTH), Khadija narrated her ordeal.

"I was sitting with another staff just fresh from training. It was around 8am when we gathered to collect the polio vaccines, so we were many at the clinic. My collegue and I decided to wait till about 9am before collecting. Just as the officer was calling us into his office, we were attacked by unknown gunmen.

"They wanted to roast us in the building. After the shooting they poured petrol on the floor and set fire on it. And when I tried to flee I fell down and later noticed that I was shot. Our male colleague died on the spot," she said.

But Zaharau Abdulazak was not as fortunate as Khadija. The killers' bullet had nearly shattered her skull and tore her ribs, even as her back was not spared. She had to undergo surgical operation.

Zaharau's husband, AbdulRazak, who spoke with LEADERSHIP WEEEKEND, said he was still in a rude shock.

"Her condition was not stable and she was rushed back to the hospital. Right now it is her sister who is taking care of the children. I am shocked and confused. Government should please provide adequate security for citizens," Razak pleaded in tears.

At the Hospital, Zarahau sat in a wheelchair and could not speak to our correspondent. But her mother, Hajiya Lami, who attended to her, said, "She was discharged on Tuesday, but this morning she relapsed and we brought her back. I am really shocked and in great despair. Only God is our remedy in such cases."

It is a different sad story for the family of Malam Yusuf Muhammad, a driver in the CRC, whose first daughter died in the attack. "I have nothing to say than to ask the general public to pray for the repose of their souls. May Allah give me the courage to bear the loss. I have been hurt," Yusuf cried.

Rabi Was 8 Months Pregnant, Left Four Young Children - Family

No mortal can escape fate, which on that fatal Friday beckoned Rabi Abubakar to attend the antenatal clinic at Unguwar Uku. She was not among the polio vaccinators.

The pregnant 26- year- old housewife was hit by several bullets and died on the spot according to her sister Khadija, who helped in washing the corpse.

"She was shot with two types of guns with one brand of bullet hitting her in the arms, legs and neck. The other type hit her in the back and abdomen, terminating an 8-month foetus in her womb," the sister moaned.

According to another sister, Shafa'atu, "a couple of days ago we were discussing terrorism and she said it would be easier to die from an instant explosion than from bullet wounds. When I heard of her death, that statement rushed to my mind."

Khadija's most senior sister, Hajiya Binta Hamisu, who raised the late Rabi as a baby said right from childhood the deceased had exhibited exemplary behaviour.

"She was the seventh of eight children. I am the most senior and I brought her up. She was obedient and generous even as a child and she kept these traits till the end. Her ambition in life was to help raise the family status financially," Binta recalled with nostalgia.

The last communication between the late Rabi and the family was when her husband dropped her at the clinic. "After some time, the sister rang again only to be answered by a policeman who broke the sad news," said Binta.

Rabi's husband, Abubakar, steering their four children, Ummi, Shaaban, Khalifa and Hajiya, said he lived a happy life with his late wife.

"She was sociable, hospitable and generous. She treated and raised the children in a harmonious family atmosphere. I will forever cherish her memory," the disturbed husband disclosed.

A close relative, Auwalu Ahmed J.C recalled that the late Rabi's pastime was "visiting the sick at hospitals and sympathising with the down-trodden. She encouraged all and sundry to learn to be pleased with their God for the good health He has given to them."

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