It was one of those dreaded nights. We heard a bomb blast, then gunshots and more gunshots. The shooters said they were only protecting us and our religion. How do you protect people by murdering and raping them?

That night, it was a house to house raid-party. You could hear the agony in the sky as innocent girls like me were raped and abducted. Some were shot. Their parents and siblings had no value in the sight of our “protectors” so they were murdered instantly.

Mama and I hid ourselves under the wooden bed Papa had constructed by himself before he died. He was killed by the same people who came to complete the task of wiping out an entire community in the name of protecting our religion. After the first assault on the people, we were told the military would come the next day. But the “next day” never came.

Bang! Our wooden door gave in too easily without a fight. It didn’t even take much to open it. It was just a hit by a jungle boot. These men started searching for any living being to kill. Mama panted. She held me tight and we hugged each other. “We will survive” I whispered to her. I couldn’t see her face but I felt her smile at the assurance.

The men gave up the search and stepped out. But one of them said “Scatter the place!” They started spraying gunshots all over the house. I felt bullets fly over my head. I hugged Mama tightly. The gunshots ended. Apparently, they had exhausted the bullets reserved for an empty house.

I hugged Mama again in victory. I told her “We survived it.” Mama smiled again in the darkness. I felt liquid roll down my hands. My hands that I used in hugging Mama.

It was her blood. Some of the bullets had gotten to her. I couldn’t hold back my tears. Boko Haram had taken the only thing I had in the world. Mama said “Don’t cry child, I died in silence so that you could live and fight for the innocent lives taken.” Mama was dead but still alive today because her spirit lives in me.

We can end terrorism!

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