Joy Terna is a 24-year old mother of two and a native of Giza, the Tiv speaking area of Nasarawa State. She was four months pregnant with her second child when militant herdsmen raided her community, killing many people.
While she was trying to escape with her first son, the raiders caught up with her, seized her and cut off her right hand, leaving her to die. Currently taking refuge at the Abegena Internally Displaced Persons camp in Benue State, Joy shares her story with Vanguard.
Armed herdsmen chased us out of Giza, our community in Nasarawa State. They came one early morning in January, shooting, killing and burning our houses, huts and farmlands. Troops eliminate scores of Boko Haram insurgents in Garshigar Many of our people, including my neighbours, were killed in that attack but many others managed to escape.
At that time I was four months pregnant. Everybody ran, including my parents and siblings. I tried to escape with my three year-old-boy but we were not lucky. They caught up with us. I begged that I was pregnant and that was why I could not run. The one who caught me wanted to shoot me and my son, but I think he later changed his mind. They held me and continued to burn our houses and looting all the food and property of our people that they saw in our barn.
After that they turned to me and my child. One of them later suggested that they should spare us. He actually said he knew my family, that we were peaceful. I think they started having an argument on what to do with me and my child. The one who told them that he knew my family pleaded with others to spare my son.
They agreed and he took the boy away from the armed men. He was the one that saved my son and brought him later on motorbike to where our people were taking refuge and my father picked him up. After that, they contemplated what to do with me. They finally agreed not to kill me but all I could remember was that one of them threw me to the ground and chopped off my right with a cutlass and went away with it.
I bled profusely and crying for help but help was not forthcoming. They left me in a pool of blood of my own blood; I concluded that I was going to die. I was there in the village alone and finally passed out. I woke up in Shandam Hospital in Nasawara State where I was told that it was the police that later came to our community and took me to the hospital where doctors battled to save my life. After my survival and treatment, I was discharged and brought to the camp where our people are currently taking refuge.
At the moment, all members of my family are here in Abagena but my husband lives in Benin. As we speak, nobody lives in my community. All the houses there have been razed and some who made attempts to return were either killed or chased away by armed herdsmen. It is here in this camp that I gave birth to my baby on May 13 with the help of those who provide us medical care. I find it very difficult to cope, my condition has not helped matters. I cannot wash, I cannot farm. Even carrying my baby with just one hand is not very easy for me. That is what herdsmen have turned my life into.