A woman walks in the burned down and completely destroyed Christian neighborhood of Jos, Nigeria. (Andy Spyra/Laif/Redux) Scene on the site of St. Therese church in Madalla, where Boko Haram struck a bomb blast on Christmas 2011, killing 32 people, wounding dozens more. Madalla, Nigeria, January 25, 2013. (Andy Spyra/Laif/Redux)
Reports that the Islamist militant organization Boko Haram had kidnapped nearly 200 girls from their homes in the rural village of Chibok, Nigeria drew worldwide attention last April. This month, reports emerged of a massacre in the towns of Baga and Doro Gowon, though the number of people killed is unconfirmed. But Boko Haram has operated in the region for years, and government forces have struggled to contain it. Christians have been targets of some of the organization’s persecution and bombings, but the majority of Boko Haram’s victims have been Muslims.
The outpouring of public anger in Nigeria has increased as the Feb. 14 elections in that country draw near. Millions of Nigerians have since been displaced by the attacks. Many throughout the country have not yet been issued the biometric ID cards required to vote, according to the BBC.
Secretary of State John Kerry was scheduled to meet with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday. Jonathan has faced criticism for a perceived lack of transparency and swift action against Boko Haram. The president waited over a week to publicly denounce the apparent Jan. 3 massacre on Baga. And his government and the military have also been accused of providing misleading information regarding the release of the over 200 girls kidnapped from Chibok.
German photojournalist Andy Spyra has spent over three years embedded in remote villages in northern Nigeria, documenting the attacks in the region, mostly in Sokoto, Jos, Mahalla and several villages south of Maiduguri. Each frame provides a rarely seen view of the devastating toll on the victims and their villages.
Few journalists have had such access to the region; his work even includes an unusual photograph of a suspected Boko Haram fighter. Spyra’s series focuses on two themes: Boko Haram’s desire to control the power structure in Nigeria, and the social and political deterioration throughout the country.
Landscape in northern Nigeria, January 25, 2013. (Andy Spyra/Laif/Redux) The police station in Madagali, close to the Boko Haram stromghold-city of Maiduguri, bombed out by Boko Haram on December 13, 2012. Madagli, Nigeria, January 26, 2013. (Andy Spyra/Laif/Redux) Chima Ohazurume, survivor of the attack on St.Therese church in Madalla, where Boko Haram struck a bomb blast on Christmas in 2011, killing 32 people, wounding dozens more. Madalia, Nigeria, January 25, 2013. (Andy Spyra/Laif/Redux) Mercy Agbo, survivor of the attack on St.Therese church in Madalla, Nigeria. (Andy Spyra/Laif/Redux) Benjamin Chuwang Tari has lost his son Tari during the Boko Haram bomb attack on St. Finbarr’s church on March 11th, 2012. Jos, Nigeria, January 24, 2013. (Andy Spyra/Laif/Redux) The inhabitants of Wumu-village in northeastern Nigeria gather under a tree close to the place where on August 12th, 2012, Boko Haram is believed to have killed eight people in an attack. Yola, Nigeria, January 26, 2013. (Andy Spyra/Laif/Redux) Father Peter shows the remains of the car of a suicide-bomber that struck the St. Finbarrs church in Jos on 11.03.2012, killing 11 and wounding dozens. Jos, Nigeria. January 24, 2013. (Andy Spyra/Laif/Redux) Scene on the site of St. Therese church in Madalla, January 25, 2013. (Andy Spyra/Laif/Redux) A wedding in St. Finbar’s church in Jos, where on March 11, 2012 a suicide bombing took the life of 11 people. Jos, Nigeria, Plateau State. (Andy Spyra/Laif/Redux) Sunday mass in the village of Namtari, close to Yola in northeastern Nigeria. January 1, 2013. (Andy Spyra/Laif/Redux) A policeman of the station in Madagali holds his gun in the foreground. The police station, close to the Boko Haram stronghold-city of Maiduguri, was bombed out by Boko Haram on 13th December 2012. (Andy Spyra/Laif/Redux) Street scene in Jos’ Christian neighborhood. Jos, Nigeria, January 24, 2013. (Andy Spyra/Laif/Redux) Landscape in northern Nigeria, between Yola and the city of Maiduguri, the stronghold of Boko Haram. Januayr 25, 2013. (Andy Spyra/Laif/Redux) Father Alex of the local Catholic church walks in the burned down and completely destroyed Christian neighborhood of Jos, Nigeria, January 24, 2013. (Andy Spyra/Laif/Redux)