News / Africa

Residents in Northern Nigeria Rebuild Lives, Despite Fears

A call center is shown that had been shut down along a road in Damaturu in the northeastern state of Yobe, Nigeria, July 16, 2013.
A call center is shown that had been shut down along a road in Damaturu in the northeastern state of Yobe, Nigeria, July 16, 2013.
Heather Murdock
In Yobe state, Nigeria, where as many as 42 people have died in the latest school attack in Mamudo village, these students say they plan to go back to school after Ramadan despite their fears. (H. Hazzad/VOA)In Yobe state, Nigeria, where as many as 42 people have died in the latest school attack in Mamudo village, these students say they plan to go back to school after Ramadan despite their fears. (H. Hazzad/VOA)
x
In Yobe state, Nigeria, where as many as 42 people have died in the latest school attack in Mamudo village, these students say they plan to go back to school after Ramadan despite their fears. (H. Hazzad/VOA)
In Yobe state, Nigeria, where as many as 42 people have died in the latest school attack in Mamudo village, these students say they plan to go back to school after Ramadan despite their fears. (H. Hazzad/VOA)
​Residents of Yobe State in northern Nigeria are rebuilding their lives after what they say have been years of violence, and months cut off from the rest of the country by the military. But while military officials say Yobe state is stable, schools remain closed after gunmen slaughtered nearly 30 children at a secondary school.
 
Malam Abubakar was a teacher at Mamudo Secondary school when gunmen threw explosives and opened fire on students in the middle of the night early this month. The school, like all the rest in Yobe state, was closed immediately, but Abubakar still comes to work because every now and then frightened children return to the boarding school to gather their things.
 
In a nearby mud home, partially collapsed due to rain, 14-year-old Isa Saleh Dasheri said he ran from the school when he heard the gunshots, jumping over dead bodies into the bush. But if the now-burned school is repaired and re-opened, he said, unlike some students, he will go back to school.
 
But his mother said that he, like all the other children, will be scared.  
 
Phone lines were cut off

Gunmen threw explosives and opened fire on students in this school in early July, prompting the Yobe state governor to close all schools in the state. Parents now worry that schools won't reopen for security reasons. (H. Hazzad/VOA)Gunmen threw explosives and opened fire on students in this school in early July, prompting the Yobe state governor to close all schools in the state. Parents now worry that schools won't reopen for security reasons. (H. Hazzad/VOA)
x
Gunmen threw explosives and opened fire on students in this school in early July, prompting the Yobe state governor to close all schools in the state. Parents now worry that schools won't reopen for security reasons. (H. Hazzad/VOA)
Gunmen threw explosives and opened fire on students in this school in early July, prompting the Yobe state governor to close all schools in the state. Parents now worry that schools won't reopen for security reasons. (H. Hazzad/VOA)
Other locals blame the school attack, in part, on the fact that phone lines were cut for two months by the military, after a state of emergency was declared in three northeastern states in mid-May.  
 
President Goodluck Jonathan said at the time the Islamist militant group Boko Haram had overrun parts of the north, and he sent thousands of troops to the battle.

Farmer Adamu Nguru said if they had mobile phones, locals could have warned security forces the militants were about to attack the school.
 
But the spokesman for Yobe state security forces, Lieutenant Eli Lazarus, said phone service has been restored and life is starting to get back to normal. He said the restoration of the phones may help security forces conquer Boko Haram for good, because they rely heavily on local informants.
 
“Somewhere along the line with the outage of the telecommunication service people who were intent to give us information were unable to do so and that has impacted our operation in so many ways,” said Lazarus.

Defeating Boko Haram

Critics say if the Nigerian military can successfully beat Boko Haram, a fractured group of shadowy militants that has been blamed for thousands of deaths since 2009, the victory will not last. In the past, Boko Haram has melted away only to resurface later, stronger and better armed.  
 
Lazarus said actually putting an end to attacks could take a long time.
 
“Insurgency is something that takes time to fizzle out, to overcome completely. You keep on seeing one or two hits around. Probably because these people are disguised as civilians and they carry themselves as innocent citizens only for them to wreck havoc somewhere. You still have pockets of them,” said Lazarus.

Farmer Ahmed Dori said it will take even longer for the region to recover economically, after two months of living “at a standstill.”
 
Farmers say that in the past year they have not been allowed to grow some of their regular staple crops because high plants can provide cover for insurgents.  
 
Parents say although they are afraid to send their children back to school next month, after Ramadan ends, they are even more afraid of what will happen to their children if the schools do not open again.   

Ardo Hazzad contributed to this report form Yobe State.

You May Like

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs