Auno community in Borno state, northeast Nigeria, has been in the news almost as a pointer to the ruthlessness of the insurgents in the region.
The community sits on the edge of the gateway into Maiduguri right on the highway between Dutse and Borno state capital city, and that road has been a prime target for ambushes and abductions by Boko Haram.
The community was attacked by terrorists on six occasions within a few months. The Nigeria Army, locked in fierce battle with the jihadist terrorists in the region, maintains a checkpoint at Auno.
Military facilities constitute major attractions for targeted attacks by the insurgents. They have frequently overrun major military command facilities over the years.
It was on account of these attacks that the Governor of the state, Prof. Babagana Zulum came at cross with the army formation, excoriating the troops for allegedly holding up traffic and making travelers sitting ducks against the vicious forays of the insurgents.
The army reportedly had the practice of blocking the city gate against travelers any time it was 6 pm, a situation that trapped motorists overnight on a regular basis without the troops staying back to offer protection. Several of the attacks in Auno had been against trapped motorists.
But on some other occasions, the insurgents had raided the community, razed down buildings, killed people, carted away foodstuffs and livestock. With a repeat of such targeted attacks the people were effectively displaced, uprooted from their homes.
An estimated 80 persons were killed by the insurgents in the course of these attacks in Auno. The displaced moved to other considerably safer locations in the Kushari community of Maisandari ward within the state.
But if anything, the attacks and travails of the community have revealed the resilience of the people. The state government has swiftly embarked on reconstruction of homes in the community. The government targeted resettlement for 560 families.
Officials of the state Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RRR) recently announced that 560 displaced families in Auno have received home allocations and moved back to the community.
Distributing the allocation letters to the beneficiaries, Dr. Mairo Mandara promised that the government planned to go a step further by training women and youths in the community in skills acquisition programmes.
Part of the construction work in the community is a Vocational Training Centre which state officials say was at 95 percent completion stage. The Commissioner for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, Engr. Mustapha Gubio recently inspected the pace of work at the centre.
The Chairperson of the State Emergency Management Agency, (SEMA), Yabawa Kolo commended the people for their determination and courage in opting to return to their community to enable them resume their normal life.
Kolo, disclosed that her agency had distributed assorted food and relief materials to the returnees. When HumAngle visited the camp in Kushari, it was evident that not everyone was excited about returning.
For instance, Mallam Modu Kachallah, one of the displaced persons in the camp told HumAngle that he did not understand the manner in which allocations were being made “because those whose houses were most affected by the insurgency have not benefited.”
Kachallah has not received allocation, He lives in the camp with his family of two wives and nine children and fends for one of his in-laws. Modu Baba, another displaced person in the camp at Njomtilo also spoke with HumAngle lamenting that he lost everything including his cattle and houses.
He lives in the camp with his wives and seven children and has not received allocation.