The war waged by Nigeria’s Islamist sect Boko Haram is having a telling effect on the lives of persons displaced by the war.
The Islamist group which now refers to itself as Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) has since 2009 engaged in an insurgency which has claimed over 20,000 lives and displaced some 2.3 million people.
Some of the displaced persons living in camps run by the Borno state government are now living in dire conditions.
Whereas the number of people in the camps in Maiduguri is increasing, the conditions there are not improving. But not all the displaced persons are settling for the hardships.
Mai Bukar, a native of Konduga, one of the towns overrun by Boko Haram militants, recently moved out of the IDP camp which he says only makes them more destitute.
“The past year has been a huge struggle. No help from anywhere. We hear that aid is getting to several other places around us, but not here. The older ones go into the town to beg until they get enough money to buy a meal,” said Bukar who has since moved to a village a few kilometers from Maiduguri.
There, he is building a small community for his family and friends.
Recounting how he ended up away from home, Mai Bukar said “we ran into the bush after some air force fighter jets raided our village in search of Boko Haram. We were in the bush for nearly six months. The insurgents caught and killed some of our children. That is why we had to escape into town.”
“I initially stayed in the camp, but life there wasn’t satisfactory. So I came to this town, and the village head was kind enough to give me an open space where I have now built a roof over our heads,” he said.
Bukar dreams of returning to his own village someday when the security situation has improved. But it may remain a dream for a while as the Boko Haram insurgency continue to spread even beyond Nigeria.