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rasoulallahbinbadisassalacerhso  wefaqdev iktab
السبت, 23 تموز/يوليو 2022 09:37

My University Was Attacked By Boko Haram Terrorists, It Changed My Life'

كتبه  By Amy Gaman
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When I started my second year of university in 2009, at the age of 19, I feared the unknown. Unlike most university students, I wasn't just worried about being away from my parents. I feared the very real threat of the rising insurgency group, Boko Haram.

At the time, the insurgency group was attacking the outskirts of communities, which led to a lot of tense times for the students on my campus at the University of Maiduguri in Borno State, Nigeria. Nobody wanted to stay out late at night, or to travel home alone.

Students were kidnapped on their way to campus. We heard about cases of rape and girls who were kidnapped and married to the insurgents. Others were shot dead by stray bullets. There was a time where we found six bodies behind a student hostel. These attacks often happened in broad daylight.

And of course as students, we knew each other well. So when an incident happened, we would often know the victim.The feeling I remember most is fear: the fear of who would be next, where the next attack would happen. As young students, it was always on our minds. Our parents panicked, too, and they would call to check in and ask, "what's happening, do you really want to stay there?"

I was studying to become a doctor, which had been my dream since I was six years old. My mom is a nurse, so I grew up wanting to work in a hospital setting. I looked at medical doctors and other paramedics as champions who saved lives.

But everything changed in October 2010. I was at the teaching hospital, a 10 minute drive from the main university campus, where we had pathology classes and visited the different clinical sections.

Suddenly, there was a tremor and the sound of a bomb was everywhere. People were in a panic, saying, "where do I go to from here?" A few minutes later, the second blast happened, followed by a third. All three blasts were two or three minutes apart. We later discovered the bomb blasts had been from two nearby markets and the area by the Post Office.

The reality of the situation dawned on us when we saw two or three people trooping into the teaching hospital, bringing people who were injured from the bomb blasts. Soon, the hospital became rowdy, as more and more injured people arrived. Nobody in the hospital cared about job descriptions—whether we were students, doctors or even cleaners. The only thing on our minds was to attend to the injured people.

Most of the people who were hit by the bomb didn't make it to us alive. There were people who were injured by stray bullets, others had been trampled by people running to seek safety.

The hospital was overwhelmed, and there were more people outside trying to seek medical attention. There was no case that you would say was less of an emergency than the other case. Every case was an emergency.

The case of a young boy, who was barely eight years old, stuck in my mind. He had been trampled upon and was bleeding heavily. We didn't know how to even start dealing with his particular injuries. The man who brought the child was elderly and he kept crying and saying, "Save him!" But the child died in the hospital.

A lot of people died, it was chaos. We were trying to save people's lives in the clinical section, but we also had to deal with clearing the dead bodies from the pathology lab, talking to families who had come to check if their relatives were dead or alive, and looking out for missing people. It was a lot to deal with as a medical student.

I had a period of sleepless nights, following the attack. Then on the nights that I got some sleep, I'd find myself screaming in my dreams. I couldn't focus in class because images of what had happened would flash in my mind. I'd see the people who were amputated, the tears of family members, and dead bodies. I started wondering, is this really the right career for me?

Then, there was another attack early the following year—this time on my school campus. A shooter had run into the school, wearing a white kaftan. We saw the military pursuing him. People panicked and screamed, "Get in the gutters!" so we crawled on the floor, trying to run away. We heard gunshots around the school. One woman on campus was shot and broke her clavicle, but there were no fatalities.

The military chased the insurgents from the campus. Afterwards, most of us just walked to the church to thank God for our lives. In my mind, I was thinking: when will this end?

The university closed for about eight months following the incident. During this time, I thought a lot about the issues that were happening in the world, and realized that by the time they got to the hospital, it was often too late. There was no option for prevention, the patient was already in a life-or-death situation.

Would medicine actually solve the issues of poverty, or educational barriers, or turn the minds of people prepared for extremist ideologies, I wondered? The answer, to

me, was "no". So, I left university and started volunteering for organizations.

I was part of the project that supported the reintegration of the girls from Chibok province who had escaped from Boko Haram—the girls at the heart of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign. I volunteered for UNHCR and other organizations in Nigeria. Now, I'm 33 years old and I have worked in humanitarian agencies for over a decade. I currently work with ONE and their GenerAction campaign, which tackles multiple layers of crises— from COVID-19 to climate change, and conflicts across the globe. It's about turning the voices of young people into policies and tangible action.

Boko Haram is still an active threat in Nigeria, and it had completely transformed the country. Before 2009, you could be a stranger in the north-east of the country and sleep the night in anybody's house without thinking twice about it. Now, your gate has to be locked and people have to call you before coming to your house. There's a fear of insurgents and the activities of kidnappers and bandits.

Boko Haram has expanded over the years to other parts of the country. They are more organized and strategic than they were when we were in school. I have relatives who talk about leaving Nigeria to save their lives. But I want to stay and help. I continue to educate myself and research what is happening around me, implementing programs in my organization and understanding what my community needs. I feel it is my job to stay home to protect my people.

Amy Gaman is Managing Director of Nuru Nigeria. She is also part of GenerAction, a new campaign from Bono's anti-poverty group ONE, which aims to show how we can all play our part in responding to the biggest global challenges facing our generation.

All views expressed in this article are the author's own.

Link : https://www.newsweek.com/i-was-university-boko-haram-attack-changed-life-1724752

قراءة 211 مرات آخر تعديل على الأربعاء, 27 تموز/يوليو 2022 16:11

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