Sima could not stop the tears from flowing, pausing at intervals to compose herself while recounting her two-day experience in the forest with her abductors.
She was mourning the demise of her husband who died two months earlier when bandits attacked her village in May 2020. Sima was still grappling with the burden of fending for her three children when the gunmen, in large number, invaded Pai village in Shiroro LGA of Niger. She held on tightly to her children, more terrified for them than she was for herself. The gunmen ordered her to move outside with her children, but she begged them to leave her alone. They ignored her pleas and dragged her to join other women who were already assembled outside.
One of the gunmen, Sima said, told them that they were on a mission to kidnap only women. On that fateful day, they kidnapped 10 women, including those who had infants.
“I had to leave my children behind. I followed the other women into the forest and we were held for two days,” Sima said.
“They made sure all the women abducted were raped. So, we all watched as they raped every one of us in our presence.
“They were two men, each of them had their way with me twice. They had told us before we left the village that they came for the wives. They didn’t demand ransom; the abduction was only for sexual gratification