A loud: “BANG!”. The enjoyment turned into seriousness. We all knew what it was. A bomb! Right after, another “BOOM!”. A reality – while living in the middle of an armed conflict.
That night, I was with some friends at a bar. When hearing the first explosion, there was no doubt that it was a bomb that had gone off. And then another one. My local friends started calling around and quickly located the areas where the tragedy had happen. There was only one thing to do, and that was to get home. Fast! There could be more bombs. And it turned out there was.
The next day we got a clear picture of what had happened. Three bars were attacked by terrorists. Three bars who all sent an international football match that naturally became a meeting point for many young men. And you know what, in the same bar we set, they sent this match. The tragedy could have been so much closer.
I did not know anyone that lost their lives that day. But the boyfriend of a friend, lost his leg.
This is the reality of living in an guard conflict. For 6 months I did live in the city Jos of Nigeria. A place where Muslims and Christians fight about politics, religion and land. A city that is hit by terror attacks of Boko Haram, again and again. A divided city, where people fear each other based on religion.
Not long ago, another tragedy happened in Jos. Two bombs went off. The first, in the “Terminal Market” (see main picture). The other one, thirty minutes later, where also rescuers and people trying to help became victims. In total, 118 were killed and several wounded.
I initially got to know these news over facebook. Where my Nigerian friends updated their statuses that they had heard a bomb, and asked people to stay indoors. Followed by a new status that they had heard another bomb. Facebook was used as a kind of warning. Just like when I was living there. Later on, many published very disturbing pictures of the victims. Close-up pictures of dead bodies and mass graves. Absolutely terrible and indescribable! It was too much for me to see these sad pictures. I could not do it.
Maybe it was too hard for me to see these pictures because it brought me back to my time in Jos. I thought of the bombs that went off when I was there. The feeling of fear. How close I had been this reality. I thought of my friends and acquaintances in Jos that were so good and kind to me. It could just as well have been those who laid lifeless and burned on these pictures. I though about all the amazing children I met, like Alheri that lost their parents in the conflict, in the most inhumane way.
After thousands of lives lost and many years of conflict in Jos, will it ever end? How can we create peace?my master thesis, for the once that are interested to learn more about the conflict.