Many refugees from the Northeast of Nigeria fled from their homes to Niger as Islamist group Boko Haram attacked and burned their villages.
Two years on, some of the refugees like Aba Ali have been taken in by strangers and are living off the generosity of strangers.
Despite loosing everything, Ali said he has gained a brother in Adamu moumouni who took him in when he had nothing.
He has become family; he is the only one I have here. He is the one who helped me when I had problems with the police. *_Reuters*_
“He has become family; he is the only one I have here. He is the one who helped me when I had problems with the police and I was later released. He is the only person I have right now” he said.
Ali is amongst the lucky few, he lives with Moumouni and his family on a small plot Moumouni gave him in Diffa, southern Niger.
According to the United nations, Over 15,000 people have been killed by Boko Haram while 2.4 million have fled their homes due to violence spill over from the Nigeria’s border into Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
In Niger’s Diffa region, more than one in three out of about a quarter of a million people have been displaced by the brutal insurgency.
Niger’s Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum said the situation is alarming.
“People have a sense of collectivity, which remains important today, so when you have people who are going through tough time like what’s happening at the moment to the people in Diffa, the communities’ spontaneously came together, welcomed and accepted them, he added.
Ali’s lasting memory of Malam Fatori, his home village, will forever be of his elderly mother standing in the doorway of their home as gunfire rang out.
His two wives and five children survived, but he said he lost 19 friends that day. And by the time he arrived in Diffa, Ali was a broken man. Then he met Moumouni.
There have been marriages between Ali and Moumouni’s families.
They have named new-born babies after each other. But it hasn’t been easy.
Three years into an acute humanitarian crisis, Diffa’s economy, once among Niger’s most robust, is in ruins.
Analysts said the worsening humanitarian crisis has led to increased tensions between local Fulani herdsmen and members of the Buduma ethnic group over scarce resources.
According to a U.N refugee agency, an estimated 50,000 people fled from Boko Haram attacks in Southeast Niger last month.