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|Last week, our Executive Director, Ier Jonathan-Ichaver, and some volunteers visited 2 communities attacked by herdsmen in the last few weeks in Benue (Buruku and Tarka Local Government Areas) to assess the situation and needs of persons displaced by the attacks.
Expecting to see camps filled with people beaten down and wearied by their losses, the Sesor team was inspired instead by the resilient spirit of these survivors who had suffered the loss of loved ones and the destruction of their farms, their food stores, their seedlings and in some cases, poisoning of their water sources. They may be displaced but they are not giving up!
The picture above is a designated camp donated by the local government to shelter some of the displaced persons in Tarka Local Government. Sesor visited in the day time and found it empty! Our guide told us the camp has been empty and was only occupied for a few days after the attacks.
Mr. Saaondo, a representative of the displaced persons, told Sesor that to the displaced, staying put in the camp “means hunger and illness for them and their children“. With this conviction in mind, the displaced women and men prefer to find shelter with host families in neighbouring villages that were not attacked and borrow land to farm on so they can feed their families! What resilience!
According to them, while welcome, sporadic well-meaning donations of food, sanitary items and used clothes will not see them through the planting season. They would prefer support that helps them to get back to their farms so they can fend for themselves and their families. This is the true Nigerian spirit!
In the next few weeks, Sesor plans to visit the communities with materials such as food items, seedlings, fertilizers and new clothing materials to support these resilient survivors – as usual, we count on YOUR support to help us give some of these farmers a new start! Thank you to those who made our assessment visit possible!
Below are pictures one of the communities took of some of their food and seedling stores and other property burnt by the attackers. (Sesor has chosen not to include more graphic images of villagers who were killed in sensitivity to our readers).