Ahmed, a young man who used to live in Maiduguri but has since left for Abuja, tells TAP how he lost two younger siblings, his family home and a cousin over the past year due to militia violence. He also talks about how communities used to harbor militants, thinking they were working for religious reasons, but how that has now appeared not to be so. He has asked that his voice be altered before posting his testimony.
There were two of my younger ones that we went home to pay for their school fees. At the end of the day, they went to register when those guys struck and killed the two of them and that’s one bitter experience. Some military men were pursuing one of the guys and was holding gun. We entered into one corner. The people of that area, they are the one who took the guy, brought one of the guys into their home and hid him, instead of releasing the guy to the military to arrest him and then maybe persecute. They said that the man is working for them. With the way things are happening in my place before, we thought these guys were out for something like maybe religion, but from what we are seeing its like it is beyond religion. We cannot know what exactly is happening in my area. Everyone is being attacked. There’s no discrimination against religion, sex, or any other thing. they just attack at random.
Ali speaks to a civil society worker in Maiduguri about his life since militants razed every home in his village, including his. This testimony was provided in Hausa. The English translation is below.
I have not had any help from the government since my house got burnt. I don’t have anything and I need help any how it will come. They burnt down our house, our village is still burning, at the moment I am now no where (homeless), it was someone that is taking pity and accommodated me in a nearby bush with my seven children.
TAP spoke to Amina, a nurse and midwife who lived and worked in Maiduguri until just this year, when she fled for fear of the violence. She now lives and works in Gombe, and spoke about the state of public services and hospitals in Borno State under the insurgency.
Formerly the North was a peaceful place, but this thing has affected our community drastically, because most of our people that are in Borno State, those that are petty traders and are engaged in other businesses, most of them… some have been killed, some have relocated. And you know most of us including myself are no more in Borno, including other friends of mine, you know. All of us we are managing where we are.
According to Halima, a businesswoman who has lived in her neighborhood in Yola for the past 35 years, robberies and armed violence during curfew hours are becoming more and more widespread. She believes that the displacement and armed violence is causing insecurity and societal distrust throughout the region, even in areas that are not seeing the worst of the violence.
You have young guys that have not been able to go to school, or they have been to school but they don’t have jobs. And because of that they use that opportunity to rob, disturbing people, crime… the problem is that everybody, all of us here, we don’t sleep with two eyes closed. We sleep with an eye open. And also, everyone in the community is concerned about this.