- On the night Boko Haram attacked her town in Borno, pregnant Falta managed to escape being killed by the insurgents by fleeing into the forest with her three kids
- Falta and her kids survived in the forest through subsistence farming but the yields from the cultivation were too small for them to feed appropriately
- When she gave birth four months later, feeding her child Maita became a great challenge and she and the baby only survived because helped arrived just on time
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The activities of Boko Haram terrorists in northeast Nigeria when they held sway there caused many deaths and devastated the entire region such that victims who did not die from direct attacks of the insurgents were killed by several other factors arising from their (terrorists’) actions.
Such is the story of Falta, a pregnant mother-of-three at the time when Boko Haram terrorists attacked her native town of Konduga in Borno state.
As told by the United Nations; on the fateful night of the attack, Falta, who was three months pregnant, lost her husband that was killed by the terrorists and she had to flee into the forest with her three kids alongside her surviving neighbours.
It was here that she was exposed to the elements that often killed Boko Haram victims who escaped being killed in direct attacks. They were subjected to harsh weather conditions, little food and dangerous animals that often got them killed.
For Falta, she lived with these conditions for four months until she was forced to give birth to her by herself without medical help.
She named her Maita.
But now arose the challenge of feeding her child when even she and the other three kids barely survived on the little yields from her farm cultivations in the forest.
Without enough breast milk to feed Maita, she soon became malnourished, raising concerns for both the health of the mother and her child among the neighbours.
Maita was eventually saved by Volunteer Community Mobilizers (VCMs) who were checking on the displaced community.
The United Nations reports that Falta and Maita’s case is similar to that of many people displaced by Boko Haram attacks in the northeast.
In March 2016, experts who researched on activities carried out by the Working to Improve Nutrition in Northern Nigeria (WINNN) programme in the states of Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa, Yobe, and Zamfara said 58 per cent of children under five in these states suffered from impairment of their physical and mental development because of malnutrition.
The UN estimates that 370,000 children with severe acute malnutrition in these states will require lifesaving treatment in 2017. It says that without such treatment, some 70,000 of those children are likely to die.
For Falta, the good side of her story is that she did not die due to the harsh conditions she faced in the forest; she and Maita survived during child birth and care givers got to them just when their health began to get worse.
The UN says Maita is one of nearly 160,000 children below 5 years old that have been treated for severe acute malnutrition between 2016 and early 2017.
In the states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, the three most devastated by Boko Haram attacks, it is estimated that the number of severely acutely malnourished children will reach 450,000 this year.
Above all these, if there is something Falta wishes for after fully recovering, it is to return back to Konduga.
She says: “I hope that peace will return soon to Nigeria and I can go home to my village with my family.”
Like Falta, survivors from Boko Haram attack will always remember what they went through because of the terrorists.
NAIJ.com TV crew recently visited the IDP camp near Abuja to see how children are being treated after their horrible experience in the hands of insurgents.