In eerie similarity to the infamous ‘red wedding’ in the best-selling series of books ‘Game of Thrones’, where a groom and his guests were brutally slain by the bride’s family, a mob in Borong, a village in Demsa area of Adamawa State have lynched a groom and his friends who came from Borno State to wed a daughter of their land.
While ‘Thrones’ is a work of fiction, in the Adamawa bloodbath, the groom, Luka Yakubu, himself a Christian and a member of an association of hunters in Kubo-Kanakuru village in Shani Local Government Area of Borno State, invited eight of his Muslim friends to accompany him to meet the parents of his bride-to-be to perfect the wedding process as required by tradition.
Kubo-Kanakuru village is a predominantly Muslim community near the Borno-Adamawa border where Muslims and Christians live in peace with each other.
Groom-to-be Yusuf and his friends, being hunters, dressed in full hunters’ uniforms, carrying their locally-made guns and a load of kolanuts. They bid their families goodbye, anticipating a peaceful journey.
Before embarking on the journey, Yusuf had asked a friend and link man in their destination to inform the local hunters in Borong of their impending journey, to avoid unnecessary panic in the community.
But as soon as the group rode into Borong on their motorcycles and met with their contact person, who was ready to lead them to the bride’s parents in a small community known as Dilli, some suspicious villagers sent word around that Fulani bandits were there to attack them. Youths soon mobilised for a ‘war’ of sorts.
As tension built up, someone quickly alerted the police. They arrived the scene and took eight of the wedding guests into custody, as the ninth had had a flat tyre before they reached the trouble spot, and had stayed behind to fix it.
While the groom-to-be, his party, and their local contact person explained their mission to the police, a massive protest was going on outside the police station, with the mob chanting, and vowing to kill the visitors and dump their bodies in a river.
The police tried to disperse the mob, which was heating up rapidly, using tear gas, but were met with stiff resistance. The mob closed in, eventually overpowering the security personnel, and lynched the groom and his friends, before throwing their bloodied, lifeless bodies into a nearby river.
Sole survivor Alhassan Danladi told Daily Trust Saturday that amid the rancour, he realised the situation was hopeless, so he tactically sneaked out of the scene during the mayhem, as the mob did not pay attention to him because he was not in uniform.
Danladi, narrating his harrowing ordeal, said the angry mob demanded the police hand them over for jungle justice. “They said if released, we could come back to attack the village.They vowed to kill all of us and dump our corpses in the river. The police fired teargas canisters to disperse the crowd, but they remained undaunted, accusingthe police of shielding us,” he said.
Danladi continued: “After I sneaked away from the escalating situation at the [police] station, I went to the vulcaniser’s workshop where the motorcycle with a flat tyre was being fixed, and sat, pretending to be part of the crowd. I heard them accusing the groom, Luka Yusuf, of conniving with Fulani to launch an attack on them.”
Suddenly, a local came running towards Danladi and the group with which he sat, and announced that a man had just been killed and thrown into the river. “One man said he was familiar with the person killed, and mentioned he was a Christian. At that point all of them shouted “Jesus! Our brother has been killed,” he added.
Danladi sat there, paralyzed by fear, wondering to himself what would happen if the locals discovered he’s a stranger amongst them. While struggling to remain calm and below the radar, he thought about his next line of action. Then another resident brought the news that a second person was killed by the mob, and that soldiers and mobile policemen would soon arrive Borrong.
Upon receiving the news that soldiers were on their way to the village, people started dispersing, leaving Danladi stranded as he did not know his way out of the village being a first-time visitor. Then in the midst of the confusion, a man dressed in priestly robes came by with another, and Danladi quickly seized the opportunity and asked them to show him the way out of the village. The men described the route for him, and the cleric offered some prayers for his safety.
As the pastor prayed, Danladi pretended to be a Christian and closed his eyes the way Christians do while praying, repeating “Amen, in Jesus name.” Afterwards, the clergyman wished him a safe return to his destination.
As soon as he arrived his village, he noticed an unusually mournful mood. The news had travelled faster than he did, and people milled around him, all frantically asking “What happened?” Families and friends cried over the loss of eight young men, in one fell swoop. Danladi then went to the palace of the district head to brief him on the bloody outcome of the journey.
When contacted, the acting district head of Kubo Kanakuru, Musa Lawal, expressed shock over the killing of the innocent young men, calling on security agencies to bring the murderers to justice.The traditional ruler told Daily Trust Saturday that the victims left behind a total of 59 orphans, and several other defendants. He also urged the authorities to support the children’s education, and general welfare.He thanked the deputy governor of Borno State, the chairman of the National Hunters Association, and other individuals and groups who paid condolence visits.
The member representing Shani constituency, Ibrahim Musa Inuwa Kubo, assured families of the slain men that government would not relent until justice is delivered, adding that the Borno State governor, his deputy, the Shank LGA councilchairman, and himself, have been working to ensure the culprits are punished in accordance with the law.
Adamawa State’s police spokesman, DSP Sulaiman Nguroje, said four suspects arrested in Borong in connection with the murder had been charged to court while several others remain at large.