Interview: “We Faced them, but they were stronger” – Borno Vigilante Fighter

Journalist interviewing someone

In this interview conducted by Testimonial Archives Project in Borno State, Muhammad Kacalla, a native of  Dawan Masara near Baga in Borno State recalls how he fled his hometown following a Boko Haram attack. Now in a displacement camp, he talks about his life now and shares his willingness to vote in the upcoming Nigerian elections. 

What is your name?

Muhammad Kacalla

Where are you from?

I am from Dawan Masara, Kukawa LGA.

You mean Dawan Masara near Baga?

Yes, near Baga. Just opposite Baga.

How do you get to this camp?

I got her because our settlement has relocated.

How was your community last year or two years?

We were living together peacefully. People were talking about Boko Haram but there was nothing in our area. Nothing was happening, then suddenly, they started coming like robbers or thieves. They come around collecting money from people and we all think it was robbers, and then later we realized they are Boko Haram.

What happened that makes you leave Dawan Masara and come to Maiduguri?

We were attacked. We were staying peacefully around 5pm when they attacked. So, we faced them, we fought.  But they were stronger, so they enter the town and people started fleeing.

So people left when Boko Haram attacked. Did you lose any friend or relative in the process?

Yes, they killed three people in the town.

May Allah have mercy on them.


But now in this camp is there anyone you know?

Yes, I know some people. The Bulama of Dawan Masara is here too.

Are there any of your relatives here?

Yes, my brothers are here, same mother.

Is there anything like doctors to take care of the injured as you people ran a lot on foot?

Yes, there are doctors looking after the patients.

That’s good. What about food?

No problem. There is food.

Like how many times a day?

Two times a day.

Do they give you any food you can cook?

No. But we will have loved them to.

Okay. But is the government extending any helping hand to you?

Yes, they help us a lot, through our LGA chairman.

Did you get voter card?

Yes, we got our voters’ cards. Even those that did not register before are registered now.

What do you think you should be having in this camp which you lack?

Our main problem is the restriction of movement. We have a lot of thing we need to go out and do.

Do you know why movements are restricted?

No, we don’t know. You will have to ask the officials about that.

Now that you have a voter’s card, are you planning to vote?

Yes, God willing. I will vote.

But did INEC tell you that you will vote?

Yes, they brought our voters card and they said we will cast our votes here.

Okay. May God help us. Thank you Malam Muhammad.

This interview was first published by the Testimonial Archives Project, TAP. We have their permision to republish. TAP is  looking for  Hausa language translators. If you are interested in volunteering with TAP, please email us at

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