Africa

Surviving Nigeria's Boko Haram

Dalori camp in north-eastern Nigeria and some of its residents

More than two million Nigerians have fled their homes seeking refuge from Boko Haram insurgents over the last six years.

One of the largest camps is in a semi-arid field outside the north-eastern town of Dalori, with row-upon-row of white tents stretching for more than a kilometre.

BBC Africa's Jimeh Saleh met some of the 18,000 residents there and heard how they have survived attacks by the Islamist militant group and how they are now coping.


Mai Mutti

One of the most noticeable figures in Dalori camp, Mr Mutti limps around using wooden crutches.

The 55-year-old former businessman fled Bama with thousands of others after the militants ransacked the town in 2014.

His left leg was hit by a bullet, leaving his foot dangling.

"I was in bed when they came at dawn; I was nursing the gunshot wound they inflicted on me in an earlier attack," he said.

The insurgents killed his 24-year-old son and also kidnapped his two daughters.

He now lives in Dalori with his two wives, 10 other children and three grandchildren.

Image caption Malaria and diarrhoea are endemic at the camp

The horror he and his neighbours have experienced are concealed by their cheerful children.

Under-18s make up the majority of the camp residents - scampering about, often unaware of the past tragedies and the challenges ahead.

"Tomorrow you shall come again, come again, come again," they chant.

But malnutrition, malaria and other infections are widespread.

"This is by far the worst thing I have seen in my life," said 60-year-old Noah Bwala, the camp clinician.


Ma'aji Modu:

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Media caption'I lost my eight children to Boko Haram'

One of the cooks at the camp kitchen is Mrs Modu, who still does not know the fate of her husband and eight children.

Some of her offspring were taken by militants from her home in the town of Bama and others were kidnapped in school.

"I cry each time I remember them," she says.

She was given the cooking job on compassionate grounds after the camp officials took pity on her because she is without her family.


Ya Ammuna

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Media captionThe 100-year-old who survived Boko Haram

Among the camp elders is Mrs Ammuna, who says she is 100 years old.

The widow and former milk seller is still pained by the loss of her two houses to Boko Haram in Bama.

The keys to the houses were seized at gun point by the Islamist fighters, she said.

But she is hopeful that now that the army has recaptured most territory previously under Boko Haram control, the soldiers will be able to take her back home when it is safe to return.


Mr and Mrs Modu Bulama

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Media caption'We got married in a refugee camp'

Despite the gloom of Dalori, some residents still find time to fall in love.

Thirty-five-year-old Modu Bulama came to the camp after his wife and two children were killed by Boko Haram.

Whilst helping with the distribution of relief material to camp residents, he met a woman who had lost her husband in the conflict.

After exchanging their experiences, he asked her to marry him.

But being in the camp has not stopped tradition, and he had to raise $50 (£34) for the bride price of the woman, who did not want to give her name.


Boko Haram at a glance:

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Media captionExclusive access inside Boko Haram's stronghold
  • Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education - Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, hundreds abducted, including at least 200 schoolgirls
  • Joined so-called Islamic State, now calls itself IS's "West African province"
  • Seized large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate
  • Regional force has retaken most territory this year

On patrol with soldiers hunting Boko Haram

Using football to tackle Boko Haram

Who are Boko Haram?


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