She woke up terrified, struggling for her life.
She couldn’t breathe. Someone was brutally suffocating her face with a cushion.
Her desperate shouts for help were stifled. Life was fast draining out of her exhausted body.
Then all of a sudden the pressure eased and she could breathe once again. She heard heavy feet
stomping away from the room and got enough courage to open her petrified eyes to see a white shirt disappearing in the darkness.
Aisha, 16 years, was a grade-9 student of a good Male school. She lived with her parents and seven siblings in Mafaanu. Their house was a decked two-story affair. The deck floor housed the family bedrooms. On the ground floor were a kitchen, an open-well bathroom and 3 rooms. One of these was a guestroom, the other a study, and the third a bedroom. It was the study in the centre that was the scene of the drama.
The study was a small room 10 by 8 ft. On one side a half partition separated it from the bedroom next-door; on the other side a full partition separated the guestroom. The study was sparsely furnished with a bare sofa and a plain mattress on the floor. It had a single door with an Apollo lock. Next to the door was a louvered window. On this fateful night, Aisha’s grandfather was sleeping in the adjacent bedroom and some family friends were sleeping in the guestroom.
Aisha usually revised her lessons and did her homework in the study with her younger sisters and brothers. Often at night she or one of the others fell asleep studying. When that happened their mother would let them be, closing them in with a click of the Apollo lock, hoping it would protect them.
The night of February 27th began no different. The children were in the study, doing homework and chatting happily as usual. Afterwards Aisha fell asleep. When her mother came to check she was alone sleeping, so she locked the door and retired upstairs for a quite night’s sleep.
Aisha’s grandfather woke up to sounds emanating from his grand daughter’s room. He thought she was crying in her sleep. “Is it a nightmare? Say your prayers dear, and go back to sleep,” he reassured her.
Aisha didn’t hear. It wasn’t a nightmare she was having. She was wide-awake and struggling for her very life. What she needed to say were her last prayers.
Aisha’s frantic struggle finally woke up someone in the guest room. “What’s happening, Aisha?” he shouted.
It is perhaps this shout that frightened off the
would-be murderer and saved her life. The tormentor released her at that and fled.
Even four days after the incident, Aisha’s eyes were still red. She couldn’t eat or sleep. She was too scared to
even close her eyes, let alone sleep. “She jumps up in her sleep,” Aisha’s mother said. “Her elder sister’s condition is
even worse. That night the police had to restrain her first. She doesn’t eat anything.” Aisha was however brave enough to relate her frightening experience to Huvas reporters.
“I couldn’t breathe. But my struggling legs kicked against the attacker,” Aisha told them. “It was pitch dark in the room. I saw only his back… a white shirt with rolled-up sleeves…. Then I started crying… Others came afterwards.”
When they came her eyes were bloodshot. The whole face was swollen. There was blood on her nose and ears and on the cushion. She had also wetted her clothes.
[An expert later confirmed that these were signs of suffocation. “She was lucky,” he was supposed to have said, “another 30 seconds and she would have been dead.”]
There was no sign of the assailant. It appeared that he entered the room by putting his hand in through the louver and opening the Apollo lock. When he heard shouts from the guestroom he probably ran away, fleeing through the open bathroom, stepping on the well and climbing over the wall into the house next door. This suggested he was familiar with the terrain.
Aisha’s mother was rudely awakened by loud noises downstairs. The time was 1.45 am. Over the din she could hear her daughter and others crying. “Everybody was crying. We then called the police,” Aisha’s mother said. Aisha was taken to the hospital and treated. She was discharged at 5 am.
“We have no clue who it is,” Aisha’s mother said. Even her innocent daughter had no idea why she had to face this terror, or who could harbour such homicidal intent against her. Aisha’s boyfriend suspected a rival suitor, who he said was trying to come between them.
“He has been making threatening calls,” the boyfriend told Huvas reporters. “The last time he did that I shouted at him. Then he got nasty and threatened me, and said he will see to Aisha... I didn’t have caller ID, so I couldn’t trace the call.”
Aisha confirmed someone had been stalking her on the road. She believed she could recognize if she saw him.
This cruel incident has terrified Aisha and her family. A dark shadow has fallen over their lives. The smile on Aisha’s face is
now gone and in its place are fear and worry, as if she has tasted death.