They arrived in the middle of the night from the nearby town of Bama, more than a thousand people, mainly children and the elderly. They had been transported on trucks, under heavy military escort, for fear of attack.
The elderly were so fragile they had to be carried off and set down to rest under the trees. The children were in rags, most of them barefoot. They had not eaten for days. We gave them bread, sardines, nuts and water.
I walked up to an old man, maybe around 80 years old, wearing a traditional white babanriga gown. He looked so fragile. He was trying to hold himself steady and at the same time lift the water can.
He looked me in the eye and whispered "Alangubro, Alangubro, Askergna." It means something like "The highest form of respect to you, for your great kindness."
Read the full text of this article by our colleage Ahmed Hersi on CNN.