December 9, 2022

Months after gunmen raided his home, man lives with 19 short gun pellets in his body

Mr. Le'an Jackse, shot on 18 April but survived

JOS NIGERIA (25/07/2022): It was drizzling on the evening of April 18 in Nigeria’s Kwata, a sparse settlement 15miles southwest of Jos the capital of Plateau State. Mr. Le’an Jackse, a middle-class government employee was preparing to sleep after a long day at work. Suddenly at 11:55pm local time, a loud bang rocked the rented apartment he was occupying with his family of five.

Jackse was alarmed, but his wife Blessing dismissed the sound for a thunder. Little did they know they were about to endure their longest night.

Mrs. Blessing Le’an

Two more bangs reverberated through the two-bedroom bungalow at seconds before midnight. And their locked front door broke open.

“The next thing we heard were loud footsteps and our children screaming,” he said. “Apparently our first daughter had ran out to the living room and was grabbed by the invaders. They escorted her to the children’s bedroom mistaking it for the master bedroom.”

At this time, Le’an and his wife knew their home had been invaded. The best thing to do was to try to reinforce their bedroom door while working a quick solution.

At few minutes past midnight, Le’an made it to the backyard of the house. He crawled through a narrow channel he swiftly carved in the ceiling using a machete. Holding tightly to this only weapon, the terrified father of three ran into the neighborhood screaming out for assistance. But none came through.

At quarter past midnight, Le’an was badly soaked in the freezing rain with only a pair of shots on. But he sprinted another 5miles barefooted to a prominent roundabout on the east of the suburb. There he met a group of Policemen manning a checkpoint at half past midnight.

A civilian watcher guards a Church near Jos

Falling on his knees before them, he pleaded for intervention and two agreed to follow him to the house. Both of them had assault rifles with one extra magazine each. But there was no vehicle to use. An only available option was a motorized tricycle parked near the checkpoint apparently owned by a Policeman.

At 12:45am, the team arrived Le’an’s neighborhood and all took positions in the approach to the house. Le’an hid in a corner holding tightly to the machete he initially cut through the ceiling with. He had carried the machete all along.

After several minutes of loud silence in the area, Le’an noticed a flash of light on the tricycle that conveyed him and the Policemen. He concluded the Police had returned from patrol and decided to come out of his hiding.

The result was a ‘hellfire’ experience, he said.

“A horrifying male voice shouting behind the approaching flashlight asked who I was. I responded by saying I am the one who invited you the Police,” he said. “The man asked where the Policemen were and that was when I realized I was talking to the wrong person. I fell down on my knees pleading when he said he was going to shoot me, but it was at that time I went blank,” he said.

Le’an was shot point blank within a 10meter range with a short gun, and he fell on his face bleeding profusely.

Four of the pellets hit him in the chest – two close to his heart. One hit him in the forehead, one pierced his diaphragm – the thin dome-shaped muscle which separates the lungs and heart from the intestines, stomach, liver, etc. Another five hit his right arm.

Le’an laid in the pool of his own blood for several minutes, unaware what had happened. When he eventually started to regain consciousness, he recognized the same voice that interacted with him saying “this one is not dead, finish him”.

“At this point, I managed to turn on my back and heard another voice inquire ‘is it this man?’”

Le’an answered from the ground, struggling to breathe. A member of a civilian watch team responding to the attack had mistaken him for an invader and pulled the trigger before he could identify himself. Apparently, the Policemen that accompanied him silently withdrew while he was in hiding.

The team rushed him to the hospital. At the time, the invaders had kidnapped his wife Blessing and a nextdoor next door, Stephanie Cephas.

Mrs. Stephanie Cephas was abducted along with Le’an’s wife

Cephas, a newly wed was snatched from her husband’s arms and herded along with Mrs. Le’an who had newly put to birth through the surrounding bushes to an unknown cave.

Cephas identified the captors as Islamic militants from the Fulani tribe. The large West African ethnic group which claims more than 20million members in Nigeria has been blamed for the murder of thousands of Christians in the country.

The two were released after 48hrs on the payment of an undisclosed ransom. Le’an himself was discharged from hospital on the third day of his admission. But to date, none of the pellets buried in his body has been  evacuated.

Doctors have ruled the pellets could stay in his body all his life and would not harm him. On July 17, Le’an had a special Thanksgiving at the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) Lyo-Rak in Jos where he relocated to after his ordeal.

Rev. Davou Pam dedicates Le’an’s baby on 17 July

His boss at the Plateau State Microfinance Development Agency (PLASMIDA), Mr. Bonkam Wuyep and a litany of clergymen including the Chairman of his Church’s region, Rev. Elisha Davou Pam and his deputy, Rev. Pwajok Davou Bok all described his survival as a miracle.

But Le’an considers it an opportunity to further propagate the gospel of Jesus Christ.