Residents of Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria are out shopping for Christmas, a reflection of a greater sense of security in the city after security forces made gains against a militant insurgency in the region.
Maiduguri has seen many people return home to rebuild in recent months after fleeing attacks by Boko Haram’s seven-year insurgency aimed at creating a state adhering to strict Islamic laws.
“It seems Christmas this year is going to be better because the security improvement in Maiduguri and we believe we will celebrate Christmas right inside our church to our home, maybe going to one place or the other with our family members,” said Sebastian Ali, a resident.
It seems Christmas this year is going to be better because the security improvement in Maiduguri and we believe we will celebrate Christmas right inside our church to our home.
Boko Haram has killed about 15,000 people and displaced more than 2 million in the conflict.
The militant group still stages suicide bombings in the region, as well as in neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
Churches are holding evening concerts as more people flock venues in the predominantly Muslim city, to revive part of the Christmas tradition here.
“Concerning this coming Christmas I’m afraid of it because I don’t think there will be movement because of the bomb blast been happening these two days because that is how it has been for the past few years here in Maiduguri but I just pray they can just allow us to move around to hang out with friends,” said another said Maiduguri resident, Jessica Gazama.
According to the U.N. World Food Programme some 4.4 million people are also reported to be going through hungry across northeast Nigeria, and two million need food aid urgently,