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Page last updated at 18:19 GMT, Wednesday, 9 July 2008 19:19 UK

Threats over Nigeria amputation

Saratu Yusuf and mother Hadiza
Saratu's family say she can no longer go to school or help them on their farm

A Nigerian doctor has told the BBC he is in hiding after receiving death threats for amputating a girl's arms.

Dr Dandyson Allison says he saved 13-year-old Saratu Yusuf's life after she was run over by a truck in April.

But he was subsequently arrested and spent a week in jail after Miss Yusuf's family accused him of removing her arms without her family's consent.

Other neighbours have accused him of being a "ritualist" who needed body parts for black magic, which he denies.

Miss Yusuf was riding on the back of a motorbike when she was knocked down by a truck, witnesses to the accident told the BBC.

"Hippocratic oath"

"I was in my clinic when I heard a loud commotion outside," Dr Allison, who runs a private clinic in Kuje, just outside the capital, Abuja, told the BBC News website.

Dr Dandyson Allison
Dr Allison has not been able to open his clinic since the accident

"Both limbs were completely disconnected, just held by small piece of skin. She was unconscious. She must have bled torrentially at the scene of the accident."

There was no time to get her parents, he says, so he had to act immediately.

"In private clinics it is standard that before you are treated you have to register, get a card, pay money.

"But I took the Hippocratic oath to save life. Waiting would have meant the end of the life of that poor girl."

Miss Yusuf says she was conscious until she was brought to the hospital and the bones in her arm were not broken.

"They sent the boy to get my parents, but by the time they came he had already cut off my arms," she said.

"I asked him why he did it and he said I would have died. The bone was not broken."

But witnesses and Dr Allison said the truck had shattered the bones and already severed the arms.

Threats

Now Miss Yusuf's family say she cannot go back to school, and cannot work to help them on their farm.

They want Dr Allison to pay them 50m naira ($424,000, 212,000) in compensation.

Dr Allison said he was prepared to help them get prosthetic arms for Miss Yusuf and give them 300,000 naira ($2,500, 1,250).

But they refused, and days later Dr Allison was arrested. He is now on bail pending a further court hearing.

His clinic was closed down by the state authorities and all his medical instruments seized.

He also received death threats and a mob threatened to burn down his clinic.

He was condemned in the Nigerian press and accused of wanting to sell the arms to a "ritualist" to be used in black magic.

Correspondents say such allegations in the media are common and children have in the past been killed and dismembered for their body parts.

It is an allegation Dr Allison strongly denies.

"There are a lot of stories about people dismembering human beings for money. It happens, but the truth is people at the site of the accident saw that the hands could not be salvaged."

He gave the amputated hands to the family and they buried them near their farm.




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