adminAugust 17, 2017Leave a Comment
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On May 7, 2014, Boko Haram swept through a small village in Adamawa State in northeastern Nigeria killing 22 people. Arit (name changed to protect identity) along with other survivors, believed Boko Haram would not return and that the situation would improve. However, in June, when the planting season began, Boko Haram terrorists returned, destroyed the crops, killed youth working in the farmlands and confiscated the community’s cows. Arit and others from the village ran to the nearby mountains to seek refuge in caves. Some who were physically unable to climb the rocks and reach the safety of the caves were captured and forcibly converted to Islam. Those who resisted were killed.
For two months, Arit and the others with her hid in the caves with only some venturing out in the evenings to scavenge and beg. Without any outside assistance, this was the sole source of food those in hiding had for the duration of this period. Fear and anxiety ravaged Arit during those two months as five of her seven children had been separated from her in the rush to reach the caves and she did not know if they were dead or alive.
On August 28, 2014, Arit and others attempted to return to their farms in hopes of rebuilding. Multiple gunshots met them. Once again, she fled to the caves. This time she remained for only three days before reaching the depressing realization that her community was now fully under the control of Boko Haram and that return in the immediate future was not a possibility. She prayed and prayed that God would enable her to find her children. Not finding them in a refugee camp in Cameroon, she moved to a displaced area in Nigeria where she learned that her children were in Yola.
When she arrived in Yola her hope was rewarded when she saw the remaining five of her children in the distance. As they ran towards an emotional embrace, the youngest among them cried, “Could this be mom?” This young child was three years old.
Arit described that it was God’s grace that kept her alive during this time and that had given her the money to search for her children and to resettle in a new area. Her hope is to eventually return to her home village and start life anew. She implored, “I covet your prayers… I desire your prayers so that I can be strong and take care of my children.”
Arit is now living with her children in the cramped room of a school dormitory converted to host individuals displaced and without a home. At the time of the interview, it had been twenty-months since she had last seen her husband. She still did not know if he had survived the attack or if he had died.
Collected by the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative