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Persistent and deadly attacks force those resettled in Malam Fatori to flee once again to Bosso in Niger

27 December 2022
Reading time: 4 minutes

After eight months of persistent and life-threatening attacks by insurgents, the recently resettled internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Malam Fatori have had to return to Bosso in the Niger Republic.

Malam Fatori is the headquarters of the Abadam Local Government Area, located on the fringes of Lake Chad in northern Borno.  

Hajja Laye, one of the IDPs, told RNI reporter Rukaiya Ahmed Alibe that eight years ago residents of Malam Fatori were forced to leave their communities because of deadly attacks by insurgents. Most of them fled to Bosso, a village in Niger that borders Nigeria.

Laye said: “The non-stop attacks resulted in most of us fleeing to Bosso. It was a matter of life or death, even though it would mean living as displaced persons.

“Our journey there was not easy. We suffered a lot. Some of the young and elderly died, many people lost their possessions and their animals. But most survived, even though some of us had only the clothes on our backs when we reached Bosso. The people there were kind and gave us some clothes.

“After we had been there a while, the Red Cross attended to us and helped us with basic needs, such as blankets. The government checked up on us only once and after that no officials came to see us. Then, a few months ago, the Borno State government decided to resettle us into our communities in Malam Fatori and we left Niger to go back home.”

Laye said at first when they returned life was peaceful and carried on “as usual”.

“But things started going badly again. First of all, it was the amount of rain this year, which was much more than usual. We knew it was the wet season and we expected it to rain. But then we experienced serious flooding. And then the attacks by insurgents started again. We had no option, we had to flee Malam Fatori and went back to Bosso again.

“Now we are facing hunger. We are so tired. The government or non-governmental organisations [NGOs] are not helping us. No one is helping us,” said Laye.

Babagana Bulama told RNI that he had stayed in Bosso when the others returned to Malam Fatori. But, he said, the residents had not been back in their communities for long before the attacks by insurgents started again.

“There was also flooding which, with the attacks, forced most people to flee to Bosso again. I stayed here [in Bosso]. I was not ready to go back to Malam Fatori when the government sent the directive for us to return. But those who returned said they had not been back for too long when the floods came and the insurgents started attacking the communities. Most fled from Malam Fatori again and came back to Bosso.

“I stayed but those who returned said the floods, coupled with the attacks, had forced them to flee again. They told us they had lost everything.

“Those who left Bosso and returned to Malam Fatori did not do so because they wanted to. We were directed to return to Malam Fatori by the Borno State government. Our leaders are corrupt. They did nothing when the insurgents started attacking the residents again.

“Now those who have returned to Bosso don’t have anything, no clothes to wear, no food, no business. We cannot find work here and so there is no money to help us survive. We are hungry all the time. All we want is intervention from the authorities here in Niger or from those in Borno State in Nigeria. We need help urgently. We cannot go on like this.

“The government in Nigeria needs to provide security for us so that we can return to Malam Fatori knowing that it is safe to do so. We will not return until it is safe,” said Bulama.


About the author

Aisha Sd Jamal