Mohammadou: ' I always fear they would come again'
Mohammadou, 53, is a blind man. Last year, he returned to his home in Damasak, northeast Nigeria, after fleeing the town was captured by Boko Haram in November 2014. For two years, Mohammadou lived in a refugee camp in Gamari, Niger.
Without the help of his wife, Mohammadou says he could not have escaped and crossed the Yobe river that separates Damasak from Niger. As a blind man, Mohammadou depends on help from his spouse, children and neighbours. In fact, he explains that his disability prevented him from accessing humanitarian aid when he was a refugee in Niger. "I would wait in line with my young son to get aid but children were kicked away and so was my son. We would systematically lose our turn and would return with nothing from that distribution," he says.
Last year, Mohammadou returned to Damasak to find his home burnt down; only the walls were standing. As part of its project of housing rehabilitation in Damasak, the Norwegian Refugee Council helped Mohammadou rebuilt his home. During three days of intensive work, NRC’s rehabilitation team finished installing a metal sheet roof, new doors and windows, and fixed any other minor damages. Since May 31, Mohammadou has a new home where he and his children can sleep and live. Now that the house is rebuilt, Mohammadou’s wife – who remained in Niger - will also be able to return to Damasak.
Mohammadou has chosen to return to Damasak yet he cannot get rid of the fear of a new attack. “I cannot forget the day Boko Haram came and attacked us. I live with memories of that day and I always fear they could come again,” he says.
Photo: Hajer Naili/NRC