World News

‘It was a miracle I escaped’: Nigerian sister recounts deadly shooting


Sister Esther Nkiru Ezedinachi, who survived a fatal shooting incident in Nigeria's embattled Anambra State last month, finds it difficult to believe that she escaped the Feb. 24 episode unscathed.

A member of the Handmaids of the Child Jesus in Nigeria’s Catholic Diocese of Ekwulobia, Sister Nkiru was involved in heavy shooting when assailants attacked a vehicle she was travelling in with other people coming from a marriage ceremony.

A professor was killed and a number of other people kidnapped in the incident, which Sister Nkiru noted has not received any media attention.

In a March 16 interview with ACI Africa, Sister Nkiru described her experience as traumatic and said that she was lucky to have escaped alive.

“February 24 is the day I will never forget; a traumatic day,” said the religious sister, who provides psychosocial support to victims of militant attacks in the region.

She narrated to ACI Africa the events ahead of the shooting and said that her group had received prior warning that “some men” were on their way to attack them.

“It was at about 7:30 p.m.; we were coming back from a marriage event. Those ahead of us phoned and informed us that these men were operating at Ufuma-Ajali axis (of Ekwulobia-Ufuma road in Anambra State.) After waiting for some time, we decided to take the Oko route. Unknown to us, they overtook us with their robbed vehicles of which one of them was a Toyota Hilux,” Sister Nkiru recalled.

The sister said that before her group realized what was happening, the assailants had blocked the road and started shooting. “People were confusedly running to save their lives,” she said.

“We ran into the bush; some were kidnapped, including two persons in our vehicle who unknowingly ran towards them. A professor was shot dead instantly,” she said.

The sister said the shooting went on for about 30 minutes, after which she and the others who fled came out of their hiding places in the bushes, only to find their car damaged with numerous bullet shots.

“My handbag, money, documents, and phone were taken,” she said. “It was a miracle I escaped with two other persons in our vehicle … I thank God, I thank God, I thank God, and I pray for the professor and his family.”

She added that “with the help of a well-wisher,” a bank officer was contacted who closed their bank account before any additional money could be taken.

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