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“My name is Mashingil Philemon of Rugu community, Gashish, Barkin Ladi LGA, Plateau State, Nigeria. I am married and have four children. I was a successful farmer.

“On 23 June 2018, I was sitting with my friend; we were talking with one another. Suddenly we heard gunshots, so we ran into the community to see what was happening. The sight of Fulani men killing our people greeted us. We all began to run, seeking refuge. I ran with one of my friends into a room. We did not know that the Fulani men had seen us. They started shooting into the room where we hid. As they shot at us, they shouted (in Arabic), ‘Allah is great.’ We cried out and they said they had come to kill us.

“The room was locked, and we heard loud sounds like people trying to break the wall. They stopped and soon after we could smell petrol. They set fire to the house. The fire was intense, and my friend said he would go out. I said to him that I would rather die in the fire than go out for those men to kill me. We stayed in the room even as the fire grew more intense and began to burn us. We screamed in pain then lay very still on the floor, pretending to be dead.

“After the fire died down, the men came in and checked us. They must have thought we were dead as they soon left.

“Hours later, when the raid was over, we came out of hiding. We were both badly burned. At first, we thought we were the only ones left alive, but we soon found other survivors. No one wanted to take us to the hospital as they feared encountering the Fulani men. My brother decided to take me to the next village for medical help. It was a long journey.

“I have had many surgeries for my burns and I still need more.”

VOM partners have provided medical help and other necessities to Mashingil, his family and the community.

“I am truly grateful to them for coming to the aid of my people. It has really given me hope and I know that we are not forgotten. The medical aid has provided me with the opportunity to once again be reviewed by doctors. I could not afford to go to the hospital for follow-up. My family is grateful for the food aid. We have been short of food for a long time.

“We pray that God gives you the means to extend this help to other areas of northern Nigeria.”

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