Thousands of Nigerian refugees are still in Chad two years after escaping attacks by Boko Haram militants.
Hawali Oumar left his home two years ago when his village was attacked by Boko Haram insurgents.
“I was heading out at four am. I wondered why my father hadn’t returned from his morning prayers. I heard gunfire. Boko Haram attacked my town. They killed my father”, Oumar said.
Oumar’s family escaped in different directions and later found their way to a refugee camp in Chad but he lost track of his 18-year-old daughter Mariam. Fortunately she survived, escaping to Cameroon.
“It was very difficult. I was walking around searching for her. I didn’t know what to do. I felt helpless. We stayed for a long time without any news about her”, said Hawa, Oumar’s wife.
Mariam was reunited with her family after two years. They now live at the Dar es Salaam camp in Chad.
Boko Haram, which controlled a swathe of land in the northeast, has largely been pushed back to its base in the region’s vast Sambisa forest -.
Though some have started returning to their devastated towns and villages, many refugees are still reluctant to go back home because of the persistent threat of attacks.
The conflict has separated about 20,000 children from their parents. 5,000 have since been reunited with their families according to UNICEF.