May We Live to Tell This Story

Those pictures captured by my lens remained vividly visible. Whatever I do, wherever I go, no matter what, I remember those ashes, the cry of women, the wailing and tears of nannies clamored on the back of their bewildered mothers. Kai! As the only male survivor in the entire Kutere village, I seldomly helped those bereaved mothers nurture the babies, and console them.
Of all these catastrophes, one thing that keeps dancing in my mind was the first day of those shootings. Never had I come across the sound of incessant gunshots as that fateful day. It was harmattan season, and everybody found solace in what we called homes to avoid the cold. Musa told me that the entire village was surrounded by armed men. Each carrying sophisticated weapons like that of Hitler during the Second World War. Musa could tell you a story that will remain in your memory forever. Having fought in Nigeria's civil war of the 1970s. He was aware of the raison d'etres of the First and Second World Wars. So, when he described their weapons as that of Adolf Hitler's, I didn't wonder. 'their different weapons of warfare could finish the entire Nigeria within a few seconds, I wonder how you too survived it' he continued. All of a sudden we heard another roar like a hungry lioness. On looking around, a woman fell in labour amidst running for her life, there and then she delivered the baby and rummaged her on her chest and carried on.
Amidst running with a view to save her life and that of her newborn baby, the pain of labour cum unexplained bleeding, that woman fell on her chest and suddenly gave up a ghost; living the baby underneath giggling and crying. I stopped abruptly hoping to rescue that baby, for I realized no one cared to, all of a sudden, we heard another shooting rightly in our front! So, everyone became stranded, having nowhere to turn to. Shooting and shouting everywhere. Mothers no longer glanced at the side of their wards and vice versa. Everybody endeavoured for escape. Those shootings continued as the sound of gunsshot increased. From then on, without knowing what happened to me, I woke up amidst countless dead bodies with sight of blood gushing away like the Kutere abbateur during the EdlKabir celebration. That was the second day  I had wished myself death to life. The first day was when I went to pay a visit to my mother, who lived with my uncle in the village close to Kutere, on reaching there, I set my eyes on the dark smoke, the sun had turned yellow and nothing living was alive in the entire village including my mother and my only surviving sisters. My mother was such an easy going, kind-hearted and wonderful woman. She cherished children around her, tell them stories and caution them against bad behavior and correct wrong with smiles. If I'm to  owe everything to anyone else in my life, it would be my mother and her alone.
Seeing that I was the only survivor, rounded by the dead, I knelt down before God; Oh Allah this zany insensitivity has never been wrapped up in the dictionary of our history, those who killed us possessed no reason for doing so, we whom were killed didn't know the kind of offence we committed, Oh Allah save us from this calamity! When I finished, I rushed to the stream behind me and washed away the blood on me and prayed Subh and began to think of where to start. Corpse everywhere. Blood all the way. I have never been in the sight of lifeless bodies as that day. Uwale's eyes was opened as if she wanted to say ' tell your father that his food is ready' Uwale was the second wife of Alhaji Tani; my father. Alhaji Tani as the saying went in Kutere, was the first farmer to owned a tractor of his own. Having uncountable cattle and camel. Musa one day told me that 2/3 of Kutere inhabitants depended on him for help. On seeing Uwale's corpse I remembered everything about my father.
I then started running, helter-skelter to different directions, like the Cain when he killed his blood brother, Abel. Living those people laying on the bare ground is unthinkable and above all inhumanely. Back here I was the only living being in their midst. Many of whom were relatives. I could identify many lifeless bodies; the Uwale's, Talatu, Jummai, Tajuli, Audi Mainika and host of others very much obscure, owing to the blood spot that covered their faces. When I finished making the rough statistics, the total number of people whom were rascally and irresponsibly massacred cloaked to two hundred.
'Yeee.....yeee.....yeee' I heard the sound of a crying baby. When I turned to see what was that. 
Another crying, then another and on and on. Before one knows where one was, about eleven babies were found alive so we became twelve. Twelve living people of Kutere resident. Kutere village was well known all over Zarna community. Its population range from twenty to twenty-five thousand inhabitants. Farming was the major source of income. Although, many ventured into antithetical businesses with neighboring villages. Those who joined together business and farming could easily possess fingers to scratch their backs. Kutere was nicknamed 'Kutere Kowa Naira'. I could remember how Uwale would spend the whole night milking cows and camel only to trade the following day to Kusa, Andaro and Baburo communities every market days. Women too engaged to dichotomous businesses. Early in the morning, everyday, in front of many houses, you would see a girl advertising what her mother sells. Bintoto, daughter of our neighbor, Tajuli, would always stay in between the entrance of their house saying 'Waina da Miya da fanke.........'Waina da Miya da fanke.........Ku zo ku sayi waina Mai zafi da Miya da fanke........ Ku yi sauri za su kare'. Tajuli attracted many customers from different places. She was such woman who specialized in different kinds of food; Sakwara, tuwon shinkafa, tuwon dawa, biski, danwake to mention but a few.
All of a sudden, everything came to a halt in Kutere. Unknown people from unknown places and reasons had put period on our lives! Who sent them, why were they doing it has remained a subject of contradictory controversy.


From the Archive of:

Muhammad Badamasi TSAURE

You may contact Muhammad Badamasi TSAURE for content writing.

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