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

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.