The boy’s frail cry pierced his father’s heart.
Saleh Umar feared his youngest son, Hassan, would die. The 1-year-old’s ribs protruded sharply, his shrunken arms were like twigs, his eyes dark hollows.
Since being driven from their village by the Nigerian extremist group and Islamic State affiliate Boko Haram, Umar and his family have often gone hungry. The six of them made their way to the dusty, sprawling city of Maiduguri, and Umar’s wife wandered the city for days in vain seeking help for Hassan.
Umar then made a desperate decision. On Oct. 6 he took the meager food the family had scraped together, a small...