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Boko Haram triggers refugee crisis in Nigeria

By Konye Obaji Ori
Posted on Tuesday, 2 December 2014 13:57

Nigeria’s refugee population now stands at more than 1 million.

Displaced Nigerians have been left largely to fend for themselves in finding shelter, food and water.

After Boko Haram pursued the soldiers from our village, they came after us too

According to local reports, people are flocking to relief centres across the country’s northeast.

Observers say the refugees, who now occupy overcrowded facilities with a shortage of supplies, are exhausted and vulnerable.

Sylvanus Papka, a top Nigerian health official, said the refugee camps are breeding ground for diseases.

Papka said the lack of sanitation poses a major challenge, and the increasing influx of displaced people worsens an already fragile situation.

The European Union last week pledged $6.2 million in assistance and called on the Nigerian government to do more to assist its refugee population.

The EU also urged national and international organisations to join forces and address “this displacement crisis of a growing magnitude”.

One of the refugees, Peter Fabian, told the Associated Press that in his part of the displaced camp, more than 10,000 people share a toilet and the people were gloomy, fatigued, and defeated.

Many in the camps had fled their homes months ago, but it is dangerous to return even if the army regained control of towns from the Islamic insurgents.

According to reports, more refugees are headed to Yola, including from Mubi, a town in Adamawa state that is on the front lines.

“After Boko Haram pursued the soldiers from our village, they came after us too.

“Our homes and churches have been burned.

“Many of our brothers have been killed,” Fabian was quoted, as he described the Boko Haram attack on Warabe, in the Gwoza mountain area of north eastern Nigeria.

The growing threat and impunity of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, has left carnage in several Nigerian villages in northern Nigeria.

The Islamic insurgents often invade villages with guns blazing, and sometimes the Nigerian military flee, leaving villagers to their fate.

Thousands of Nigerians have lost their homes, properties, and relatives in the wake of unimpeded raids by Boko Haram.

Observers say towns like Chibok, where Boko Haram abducted more than 200 schoolgirls in April and struck again in November, aren’t safe, even though the military have taken back the town from the insurgents.

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