Twenty-two-year-old Halima Bulama had just returned from the marriage ceremony of her relation mid-April in Kasaisa community in Damaturu, Yobe State, in northeast Nigeria when her husband, 22-year-old Ba’ari Abacha, in a fit of rage attacked her.

Mr. Abacha said his wife disobeyed him in attending the ceremony, and as punishment hacked off the woman’s right hand with a machete, according to the police.

At the teaching hospital in Damaturu where she was taken to for treatment, Halima said her husband was quick-tempered and vowed not to return to her husband in Kasaisa, one of hundreds of vulnerable communities in this Boko Haram-plagued region. “If he can cut off my hand then he can easily kill me,” she said.

The suspect, a nomad, told police he acted because of his wife’s “immoral disobedience to marital ethics.”

“She has been traveling without my permission. But as matter of fact, it was out of anger I did this. I regretted my action,” he said in the local Kanuri language at the police station.

Such attacks are common in Nigeria where violence against women remains a problem despite the growing campaign against it. But recent lockdowns imposed by the federal and states governments across the country to curtail the spread of coronavirus, has caused a spike in incidents that target women and children, activists say. This is because the restrictions have forced vulnerable persons to stay more closely to their attackers.


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