“Life continues”

Photographer documents life in Nigerian city devastated by Boko Haram violence

Fati Abubakar takes photos of daily life at a market in Maiduguri, Nigeria, a regional capital where Boko Haram started out, June 17, 2016. (Jane Hahn/The New York Times)

Boko Haram has wrought havoc on Maiduguri, Nigeria, the capital city of Borno State in the country’s northeast region, and the birthplace of the extremist Islamic group. Signs of the group’s destruction are everywhere, and most residents’ lives have been affected by the violence. But one young woman named Fati Abubakar who grew up in Maiduguri is out to document the life and hope that remains in the city, and has attracted a following to her Instagram account where she posts photos, quotes, and captions of the city’s residents. Abubakar, 30, was inspired by Instagram accounts like Humans of New York, and now photographs vendors, refugees, students, and other citizens for her own account, @bitsofborno.

“When they say there’s an insurgency here, people assume it’s nothing but death and despair,” she told The New York Times. “I want to change the image. You can see, everyday life continues.” Below are a few samples of her work.


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'I am from Oyo state. I've been here in Maiduguri for 20years. I can't really tell you all that has happened. Everyone knows. Everyone ran helter skelter. I personally changed houses a lot running from the crisis. My husband's son was killed. Regardless we didn't leave Maiduguri. We cant move somewhere else and start all over. We used to make a good living here. My husband and I had a provision store but it was shut down due to the economic crisis everyone is facing here. Although I currently sell food, its hard and you've children to feed. We understand how hard it is for the government. But we still want to ask for help. There's a lot of need for food' Rukkayat #photojournalism #documentaryphoto #documentaryphotography #documentaryphotojournalism #dynamicafrica #theafricathemedianevershowsyou #refugeecrisis #everydayafrica #everydaystories #bitsofborno

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The city’s civilian militia, which guards against Boko Haram, look out for Abubakar as she wanders the city, chatting with those whose lives have been devastated by the violence and the young children who continue to play in the city streets. As a single woman with a graduate degree from the United Kingdom, Abubakar is blazing her own trail as a professional female photographer, and she said she hopes that good will come from her work.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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