Author: Samantha

The Story of a Woman Who Was Detained Without Charge

The Story of a Woman Who Was Detained Without Charge

They fled a Boko Haram massacre. Now, after years in refugee camps, families return to rebuild their lives.

In April, the small coastal town of Baga, in Borno State, Nigeria, came under fire from the Boko Haram militants. More than 100 people were killed and hundreds more were held hostage in four schools.

That massacre, Boko Haram says, came after the town officials refused to grant their demand for the release of a man who had been detained without charge.

The Nigerian military responded by raiding the town, killing thousands of civilians, including many women and children, and forcing hundreds to flee to the desert.

“It was very shocking and frightening to the civilians, mostly women and children,” said Chineke Chinyere. “It came as a surprise to the people of Baga because as far as they knew the town was safe.”

When they reached the refugee camps, Chinyere and her family went straight to the Red Cross office, where she handed a letter to a woman there.

The woman read the letter to Chinyere. It explained that the family had fled the town, fearing that they would be next.

“I was very confused and terrified,” Chinyere said of the refugee camp. “They were saying Boko Haram was attacking schools when we were walking home from school, and we were walking with our bags in our hands to come back to school, and we were attacked with bombs.”

Chinyere and her three kids settled into a tent made of plastic sheeting and plastic table tops. They stayed there for three nights, sleeping on the floor because their tent was destroyed.

The following day – the morning after the attack in the town – the Red Cross sent them to a camp for displaced people. They stayed there for a month, sleeping in their clothes, and only washing their clothes on the last night – the first night of their three-month stay.

Every time they returned to their tent, Chinyere found that the plastic had broken and needed to be replaced. Every time they cooked and ate, the plastic was leaking. Every time they did anything that required them to move, they could hear the plastic being sucked into the ground, and every time they moved they were

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