A reverend father at the Catholic Seminary in Kafanchan diocese, Kaduna state, George Barde, has disclosed that about five bandits lost their lives including a parishioner when the terrorists attacked the Seminary and set it ablaze.
It will be recalled that a seminarian, Na’aman Ngofe Stephen, lost his life during the attack and was buried on Tuesday in front of the church at Saint Raphael Fadan Kamantan, Zangon Kataf local government area of the state.
Giving a detailed account of what happened, Reverend Barde noted that contrary to the report that the seminarian died inside the building when it was set ablaze, he said the seminarian died as a result of gunshot wounds.
According to him, the bandits also attacked the priests in the building, Rev. Fathers Emmanuel Okolo and Noah Monday, at the Parish and opened fire on the priests, however, they were both saved by God because they escaped from the building.
He continued, “The mood in the parish was mixed. There was joy for the miracle, which is the survival of the two priests, but sadness at the painful loss of Na’aman.
Barde also said, “The initial assumption was that the deceased got trapped and was burnt to death, but the body was ridden with gunshot wounds, which suggested that the bandits already shot him dead in the early stages of the attack, as they forced their way into the parish.
“His hair and his body parts were intact. I saw his knapsack bag, slippers and sandals in his room, partially burnt laptop and wallet.”
“I was received by Fr Emma himself sitting under the tree, brave and unfazed. Not looking at all like the story of what happened. He showed me and other concerned parishioners round the charred remains of the house, recounting the vivid and bloody details of the attacks.”
“The beautiful Parish house and Church edifice were donated by an illustrious son of the village. The value of loss from the attack, including a young life, a car, a motorcycle, four mass boxes, and every other books, certificates and furniture; three laptops and three television sets are enormous. Overall the loss stands at about N70 million.”
Rev. Father Barde, also recounted the miracles that led to the survival of the two priests.
“Fr Emma did not hide, nor run away from the attackers. Fr Noah hid himself somewhere within the house. The seminarian was in the bathroom where he was probably shot and left to die in the pool of his blood.
“Fr Emma alone fought the 11 bandits to a standstill and caused them major casualties. They all had guns of different makes, including about seven AK-47 rifles, with which they shot at him furiously and repeatedly, but to no effect.”
“He told me he thought they shot him seven times, but Fr Noah said he heard more than 30 gun shots; none did him harm. He joked to me that if he had a shirt or a singlet inner wear on him he would have suspected that some juju was done on the shirt or singlet.
He described the feeling of bullets on his bare skin as ‘ice touching him, and falling off. He did not even get to wear a shirt, except his boxers when they barged in.
“A few among the 11 member-gang did not go back as they came, they fell to the ground and did not live to tell the story. The fate they unleashed fell on them first. It was a gruesome day and God proved himself faithful,” Barde added.
“At their frustration and bewilderment, one of the bandits, probably a member of his church, said ‘In the name of Jesus, we must kill you, and you must die’. At this point, Fr Emma had enough and yelled in rebuke at the bandit: “which Jesus are you talking about, is it the same Jesus I worship?
“After some more shooting without success, the leader said in Hausa “ku zo mu tafi, wannan ba mutum ba ne” meaning (come let us go, this one is not a human being”. They left the house hurriedly in fear and trembling, carrying their fallen comrades.” Barde said the coordination and knowledge of their way around the house could not have been coincidental.
“Someone who knew Father and the house very well led them in the attack. They knew their ways around the house,” he added.
On the burning of the house by the terrorists, he said: “As the bandits left the scene in total confusion and daze, the priests called out to each other in the living room to take stock of survivors. That was when Na’aman did not show up. They checked his room and did not see him. They presumed he had probably escaped. Alas he was dead!
“The bandits came back in anger, and retaliation before escaping to the bushes, to set the house ablaze, hoping they might kill the Priests or at least harm them through the means of fire since the barrel and barrage of guns and bullets had failed. The burning down of the Rectory was, therefore, an afterthought from a vindictive, bruised and defeated set of bandits, who used that to mitigate their losses.”
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