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Boko Haram attacks escalate, IDP number increases to 59,200 in 3 months -IOM

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THE International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says there is a sudden rise of displaced people in North-east Nigeria in the last three months due to violent attacks ravaging the area.

Over 59,000 people have been displaced in the North East between November 2018 and January 2019, according to IOM in NAN report.

The UN migration agency warned in Geneva that Northeast Nigeria displacement crisis had continued due to “increased sophistication’’ of attackers.

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

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.

IOM said the 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.

A recent attack by the Boko Haram insurgent in Rann, Borno State had caused the largest human displacement since 2017.

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“In the town of Rann, which was attacked in January, nobody was spared in one assault,” IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission said.

“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.”

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.

IOM said the available camps are completely congested which included Monguno camp in Borno, the largest of refugee camps in Nigeria. The situation had caused several displaced Nigerians to seek refuge in neighbouring countries

According to IOM Nigeria head, rumours of an imminent attack are enough to convince communities to flee, as people have sought refuge in neighbouring countries of the Lake Chad region.

“There were a number of people who moved across a number of villages in Cameroon.

In 2018, 7.7 million people in Nigeria were in need of humanitarian assistance, and 1.7 million people were classified as “food insecure” between October and December, according to the United Nations humanitarian wing.

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