After her husband was killed by a Boko Haram suicide bomber late last year, Hajjagana Mbasaru was forced to pull her children from school and rely on friends to feed them. Like other widows of civilians fighting the Islamic extremists in northern Nigeria, she spent long months waiting for any kind of government support.
Finally, last week, officials in northeastern Borno state stepped up with a small handout: two bags of rice and some beans. Though modest, Mbasaru said it was a welcome change from months of being ignored. “I am indeed very happy that, for once, the government has remembered me,” Mbasaru said.
During its seven-year uprising, Boko Haram extremists have killed more than 20,000 people and displaced more than 2.6 million in Nigeria and neighboring Cameroon, Niger and Chad. Frustrated by the ineffective military response, thousands of ordinary residents in northeastern Nigeria joined local militias. Read more