A nation without security in times of war is defenseless. However, Nigerian soldiers are trying their best to protect the country.
Celebrity photographer, TY Bello was in Borno State recently to photograph and document the story of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
For TY, the experience at the camp is not one she will forget in a hurry as she recounts her interactions with the soldiers. She also shared a photo of an xray showing an anti-aircraft bullet lodged in a soldier’s throat.
“While I made portraits of our wounded soldiers at the military hospital in Maiduguri, one of the soldiers made a statement that I haven’t been able to shake off, ‘one way you know a soldier has been hit is that they suddenly start shouting out names of family members.
“This statement kept playing over and again in my mind, especially when I got the most colourful welcome from my family, barely a week away on this journey. Many soldiers, play this long overdue welcome party in their heads daily, and the sad thing is that for some, it may never happen.
“I had long conversations with soldiers about how they got wounded in battle.They told me how grateful they were to be alive, some of their colleagues weren’t as lucky. I also got to speak with medical personnel, on the uniqueness of their work in a war against terror.
“I’ll share all their stories here and start by introducing Soldier X, who I never met, but made a photograph of his X-ray. An anti-aircraft bullet, big and strong enough to tear through the titanium body of an airplane, was lodged in his throat, and for some reason, it didn’t blow his head off, this soldier lived through his surgery and got to take the removed bullet home as a reminder.
“This is a wicked war! Why would anyone chose weapons made to attack war planes and use it on a fellow human at close range, even in war there should be rules.
“Lieutenant Ologodo told me something really important, that if you don’t believe in God, working here will make a convert out of you, the frequency of witnessing the darkest of evil deeds, along side what can only be miraculous, will open your heart somehow. This is such a brutally wicked war.”
X-ray photograph of wounded soldier X