Days of Their Lives

Stories From A Summer in North-East Nigeria

Category: Borno

From Baga to Jerusalem

Dorcas Musa was scheduled to be sold on a Thursday. And she knew. The 13-year old had eavesdropped on a conversation in Kanuri between two members of Boko Haram, the insurgency group that had kidnapped her and four others from her hometown of Baga a few months earlier. One of them had been sold the […]

Abba in The Great Trek1

The Great Trek

Between ‘Big Tuesday’ 15th February 2012 and ‘Black Sunday’ 14th September 2014, Abba Mamman had the privileged misfortune of witnessing twelve different attacks by Boko Haram insurgents seeking to overrun his hometown and forcibly install an Islamic caliphate. The thirteenth, which commenced at 5am was the final straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back and […]


Jibrin Goes to School

Jibrin was only six years old when it happened. Over the weekend, he had fallen ill and rashes had developed all over his body, from neck to back. So on July 1, 2014, his father took the youngster and set out to get a diagnosis and treatment at the government hospital in Maiduguri, capital of […]

f is for fati

F is for Fati, and Faith

It is almost 5pm on a weekday and as Fati Abubakar drives to one of the popular restaurants in town for lunch after a day of work with a visiting researcher to town, she fiddles with her phone. “I’m sorry but I have to reply this email,” she apologizes. “Everybody wants to come into town […]

The Boy from Bama

The Boy from Bama

It was 6am in Bama one Saturday morning in July 2014 as 18-year old Dauda Abubakar was getting ready for soccer practice that Boko Haram struck. As soon as he heard repeated gunshots, the teenager fled the town with nothing but his jerseys and soccer boots. Four hours later, after he had trekked all the way […]

Falmata’s Story

In the summer of 2014 when Boko Haram attacked Bama, one of the largest local government councils in Borno state yet again, 30-year old Falmata was pregnant with her fifth child. She remembers the date vividly; it was 13th August 2014 and it was a Monday morning. She was preparing to go about her usual […]

Hassan Hassan

One evening two years ago, Hassan Hassan then a 30-year old farmer in Dikwa, Borno state, hurried home from a day in the farm to pray. As he finished his ablution and knelt down to start praying, he saw six gunmen walk into his house with guns and knives. He knew they were Boko Haram. […]


After September 11

Shoni Ibrahim was nineteen and in secondary school when Boko Haram first attacked Gwoza. He remembers the date: it was September 11, 2013, exactly twelve years after a similar terrorist attack by its associates, Al-Qaeda, destroyed the World Trade Centre in faraway Washington D.C. The insurgents came into town and killed as many people they […]


The Football Fanatic

In 1991, Alhaji Mustapha was an energetic 10-year old boy when his favourite club in the entire world, El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri won the Challenge Cup beating Kano Pillars in a keenly-contested final. “In the earlier stages, I would go and watch with my own money but when it got to the knockout rounds, the […]


Love in a Time of War

On a sunny day last July, 70-year old Bamodu Abubakar and 45-year old Falmata were joined in matrimony according to Islamic laws and tradition in the camp for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in the town of Bama. The marriage was neither the first for the septuagenarian and his wife, both brought together as a result […]