Fear Grips Borno Communities As Residents Flee To Maiduguri

By Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri

Hundreds of residents of communities around Baga, the Borno State town which was taken over by Boko Haram insurgents over the weekend, have fled their homes and moved to the state capital for fear of being attacked by the terrorists.

Officials of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, are battling with the influx of fleeing residents and raising concerns that the humanitarian conditions in internally displaced persons, IDP, camps in Maiduguri could worsen.

NEMA spokesman in the North east, AbdulKadir Ibrahim, who spoke to journalists in the Borno State capital on Tuesday, said so far 1636 residents of communities close to Baga, including Monguno and Doron-Baga, have registered at IDP camps in Maiduguri.

Giving a breakdown of those so far registered by the agency, Ibrahim said that while 1172 are male, 464 are female. Of the 1172 males, 779 are adult males and 393 are children.  Of the 464 females registered, 216 are adult and 248 are children. In total, there are 464 children of the new arrivals at the camps.

Ibrahim said that the agency had provided the displaced people with beddings and other items with the help of the state relief agency.

He also disclosed that some of the fleeing persons were discovered to be sick or with minor injuries, adding that they had been given adequate medical attention.

“Those that were sick have been given medical attention while all hands are on deck as all the stakeholders in emergency management are doing what they can to attend to the need of the people,” he stated.

The NEMA spokesman also observed that some of the people who fled from Baga after last weekend’s attack had relocated to Chad, Nigeria’s northern neighbour and that there were plans to bring them back to the country.



    “Recently, NEMA team was dispatched to Chad, Cameroon and Niger to ascertain the number of Nigerians displaced in these countries. Those who are willing to come back will be evacuated back to Nigeria in assistance with the host countries,” Ibrahim stated.

    Some of the fleeing residents told newsmen in Maiduguri that they had to abandon their homes behind because of fear of being attacked.

    One of them said that there had been a pattern whereby Boko Haram, after taking over a major town, goes after surrounding communities in a bid to expand the territory they hold.

    In a brazen move, Insurgents attacked the headquarters of the multinational military task force in Baga, reportedly killing an unspecified number of soldiers and sending others fleeing before taking over the town and hoisting a Boko Haram flag.


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