The 2001 Jos riots took the lives of many and Nollywood actress, Felicia Fred would have been one of them but for her best friend who gave her life for hers.
The memory still brings tears to her eyes as she recounted how she was saved.
She had woken up on the 7th of September 2001, in Jos, to see her mum baking a cake for her, because it was her birthday. She left for school that morning and during break, she was seeing her best friend off to the rest room when they heard screams and gunshots.
Some armed men shot at Felicia, but her friend took the bullet and asked her to run. Sadly, her friend died on the spot. While she was running for her life, the armed men kept chasing her until she dived into a flowing river and stayed under the water for about five minutes.
When she heard no sound again, she ran out and headed for the hills, which was a play arena for her and her friends. When it became dark, she saw fire and flames from distant areas and she knew that people had been killed and properties destroyed.
“I sighted the monsters killing people who lived in a small village; they tore the belly of a pregnant woman, killed the baby and slit her throat. I realized they didn’t care about the gender, all they wanted was blood.” she said
She left the hill and ran into a barrack, which sheltered Christians who were homeless and injured. The urge to see her family made her leave the barrack and climbed through a mountain to get to her house.
On her way, she saw some huge men with weapons, “one had half of his face burnt, some had only one hand, another had his ear cut off,” and they surrounded her.
The sight of them made her faint and when she recovered, she found herself with an old woman, who fed her and told her the men were indigenes of Plateau State protecting the area.
At her insistence, the old woman gave her directions to her house and told her nothing happened in her area. When she got to her area, she found some military men, who were safeguarding the place.
“I saw everyone and I was so happy. They all wore black clothes and my picture was in the living room, they thought I had died because almost everyone in my school was gunned down.” she said
Read full story on Vanguard