When Ibrahim was nine years old, Boko Haram militants chopped off his friend’s hand and dipped the stump in boiling oil.
Much of his family had been butchered by the group; when he was 11, he saw a jihadi shooting his father dead.
‘When I think about Boko Haram I have no emotion,’ he told MailOnline in Bikari camp in Maiduguri, the wartorn capital of Borno state in northeastern Nigeria. ‘I don’t think I feel anything any more.’
Ibrahim, 13, is just one of millions of Nigerians displaced by the savage nine-year insurgency, which has claimed over 20,000 lives, triggered malnutrition and disease, and forced entire communities to flee their homes.
Now there is a growing fear that the African terror organisation – parts of which are affiliated to ISIS – is threatening to spill into Europe along migrant routes.
MailOnline visited the city of Maiduguri, the war-torn capital of northeastern Borno state, to see first-hand the scale of the disaster. We travelled with the British charity Street Child, one of a small number of NGOs that helps children caught up in the conflict.
Nigeria was the third biggest source of illegal migration into Europe last year with 37,000 new arrivals, behind only Syria and Afghanistan and ahead of Iraq by 10,000.
Last month, a hardened Boko Haram fighter who had admitted slaughtering schoolchildren, burning down churches and taking girls hostage, was arrested by German police in Munich.
city of Maiduguri, the war-torn capital of northeastern Borno state, to see first-hand the scale of the disaster. Pictured: Beggar boys known as Almajiri at the Goni Habeb Sangaya school in downtown Maiduguri
We travelled with the British charity Street Child, one of a small number of NGOs that helps children caught up in the conflict. Pictured: Children beg by the roadside
Boys study maths at Street Child’s Jajeri Bayan Texaco school in Maiduguri
So far, most Nigerian migrants have come from parts of the country free from the terrorist threat. But if the terror group is not suppressed, experts believe that a new surge in migration to Europe may be on the way – with more terrorists hiding in its ranks.
Fatima Akilu, a former NHS psychologist who leads Nigeria’s de-radicalisation programme, told MailOnline: ‘As Boko Haram gets squeezed in Nigeria by the military, what is the next stage? Embed themselves in other countries far from their homeland? That could be the plan.’
Maiduguri’s population has doubled to two million with an influx of people fleeing the group, which seeks to establish a caliphate in the northeast, as well as parts of neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
In the city’s largest camp, Dalori, we captured drone footage to illustrate the magnitude of the staggering humanitarian emergency.