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59,000 people displaced in Northeast Nigerian Due To Increased Boko Haram Attacks – IOM

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The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has said that a rise in violence in the Northeast has displaced over 59,000 people in the last three months, making it the highest displacement in recent years.

Mr Frantz Celestin, the chief of the UN Migration Agency said attacks by non-state armed groups in Nigeria have left relief workers unsure about the extent of needs among some communities.

Celestin said the terrorists have been applying a “hit-and-run” tactics which have caused many more persons to seek refuge in safer towns and neighbouring nations.

According to the agency, the armed extremists, notably Boko Haram militants have contributed to a decade-long humanitarian crisis in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, that had spilt over into the Lake Chad region.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says an upsurge in violent attacks in crisis-ravaged North-east Nigeria has displaced 59,200 people in the last three months.

“Since November, we have seen 59,200 displaced,” IOM Nigeria’s Chief of Mission, Frantz Celestin said, noting that in the last two years, “we have not seen that many people on the move”.

The last two months of 2018 were also marked by “an increased sophistication’’ of non-State armed groups accompanied by “an increased number of attacks and success in taking towns,” Celestin explained.

According to him, civilians continue to bear the brunt of conflicts that have led to widespread forced displacement and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

Since the start of the crisis, more than 27,000 people have been killed in the three North-eastern states, according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), while thousands of women and girls have been abducted.

“Government efforts to drive back the non-State armed groups that operate in the north-east of the vast country have been hindered by the Harmattan dust cloud, an annual phenomenon that sweeps across West Africa from approximately November to March.

“In the town of Rann, which was attacked in January, nobody was spared in one assault.

“The MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) clinic was burnt, the IOM hub was attacked, the UNICEF clinic was attacked, the WHO/ICRC’s compounds were attacked,” Celestin said.

He said amid ongoing insecurity, humanitarian access was limited, hampering the ability of aid agencies to assess needs comprehensively.

Tens of thousands of civilians have fled into already overcrowded camps, mainly in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno, the IOM official added.

“One of our biggest issues in north-east Nigeria in addition to the security issues is the access to land.