CRIME WATCH: When the robbers strike at Ndungu Kebbeh
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Monday, September 1st, earlier this year, was a chaotic day for the people of Ndungu Kebbeh; it was around the wee hours of that day when about seven armed robbers attacked the village situated in the northern region of the country.
What was supposed to be an easy ride for the invaders turned out to be a bitter battle between the armed robbers and the villagers; and at the centre of it all were inhabitants of the compound of Alhaji Ebrima Bah who was reported to be the actual target of the marauding bandit.
According to Darboe Manneh, a nephew of Ebrima Bah, who narrated their ordeal in the hands of the men of the underworld, there was a heavy downpour on the previous Sunday night, which continued until the early hours of Monday morning, sending every villager to bed very early. And it was also the beginning of the Holy month of Ramadan.
There doesn't seem to be anybody in the village who can identify the exact route through which the assailants entered the village on that turbulent night. However, as Crime Watch later found out, the resulting incident was the second of its kind in less than forty days, in the same compound. According to Mr Manneh, it was exactly 0200 hours when they heard the rapid sound of gun firing.
It later emerged that the robbers had actually damaged one of the doors, gaining entrance into the room where his elderly uncle had been sleeping. The old man was reportedly held hostage, while his attackers went on demanding for money. Even though he told them that he had no money, his captors wouldn't believe him.
"They swung into action, scattering and ransacking every single item in the room in desperate search for cash," said Mr Manneh. Unsatisfied with the result of their searching spree, the rubbers started shooting at the old man, stabbing him repeatedly, all to no avail. But eventually, they overpowered him, after hitting him on the head several times with a big club. This made the old man unconscious, dropping half-dead.
Awa Manneh, a wife of the victim, was said to have cried out loudly for assistance; a cry that actually attracted the rest of the villagers who rushed out in their numbers to help, lunching a counterattack on the rubbers. "This aggravated the firing spree," posited Mr Darboe, disclosing that during the process, one of the armed robbers was killed, and a second sustaining serious injury. According to the villagers, nobody could recognise their assailants as they disguised themselves in veils, covering the entirety of their faces. The rubbers eventually fled into the bushes in the face of the resistant villagers, coinciding with the arrival of personnel from the police department.
Following the dreadful scenario, it was rumoured that the attack on Mr Ebrima Bah had in fact been triggered by the arrival of his son from Europe, shortly before the incidence. According to reports, many people in the village shared this thought.
The conspiracy theory is that the bandits were probably informed of this, triggering them to conclude that they could possibly get some money from the man, as his son, who had already returned to his base before this unexpected incident, was sure to have brought him some money from Europe.
In line with this, some of the villagers believe that there must be a stool pigeon within the village or its neighbouring villages who might know more about the residents of Ndungu Kebbeh than they thought.
ASP Sulayman Secka, Police PRO, said that there is no arrest made on the incident, but that police investigation was in progress. He also said that there was still no one to have come forward to identify the corpse of the dead rubber currently deposited at the mortuary. The police spokes person however confirmed that they later discovered that the intruders had been armed with double barrel guns. They also discovered three cartridges; one used one and two unused ones, at the scene; all of the cartridges been blue in colour. In addition, some amount of money (coins) in Senegalese currency (CFA), and some talisman (juju) were found on the body of the dead rubber.
Ndunga Kebbeh, a village of about five hundred houses, serves as a commercial centre for the rest of the surrounding villages, like Kuntaya, Kerr Katim, Ndungu Charreh, Makabala Manneh, Sarre Yorro, among a host of others. In the past, Kerr Katim, Kerr Samba Yassin and Kerr Patteh, all in the same region, were also said to have suffered similar attacks. "But it all got reduced extremely after the setting up of Police Intervention Unit posts in those areas, allowing for a constant patrol of teams of security personnel," ASP Secka added.
The weekly market day, 'lumo', also contributes in the making Ndungu Kebbeh one of the most popular of villages in the North Bank Region, receiving thousands of people on business transactions on a weekly basis.
When Crime Watch arrived in the village, the situation had gone back to normal, as confirmed by the villagers themselves. Some of the youths in the village, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that this was not the first time such an attack was happening. Amadou Bah, the man charged with providing security for the village's market, recounts how he narrowly escaped death from the hands of the men of the underworld, about one and half years ago.
"They came from behind; one of them strangling me, while another one hit me on the head, with a stick, before taken me to the bush. They tied my hands and legs and later tied me on to a tree, like a punching bag," he explained. And he continued that one of them held a sword near his neck, guiding him, "ordering me not to shout, and that if I did he would cut my head down."
In way of avoiding reoccurrence of such incidence, the youths have adopted the habit of staying awaken late into the night, keeping vigil across the streets of the village.
And according to ASP Secka, the PIU officers have doubled up in their regular patrol in the area.
Author: by Yunus S. Saliu