Part 1: Inside The Lion’s Den of Nigeria’s Boko Haram

Yvonne Ndege is a British-Kenyan journalist based in Abuja, Nigeria. She is the West Africa Correspondent for the English-language news channel, Al Jazeera English. Here, she shares her experience of visiting Boko-Haram-torn Maiduguri. My five days in Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria – the epicentre of violence perpetrated by the armed group, Boko Haram – was fraught with danger. I had been trying to get access to report from the city for over a year.

I had been told that I needed clearance from the head of Nigeria’s armed forces to report from the ground. I’d also been told that Maiduguri was classified as a “security zone”, off-limits to journalists, according to the ministry of information. In the end, I decided to take a chance and make the journey, hoping to come out with some reportage but prepared to get absolutely nothing too. All this was against the advice of security advisors, professional colleagues, NGOs and government contacts.

For months I had heard that Boko Haram had taken control of not just Maiduguri, the state capital, but large swathes of Borno State. I had been to Maiduguri a few times before, including in 2009 when I reported on the killing of the group’s leader, Mohammed Yusuf, while in police custody.

Part 2: Inside The Lion’s Den of Nigeria’s Boko Haram