Posts Tagged ‘Nigeria’s military’

Boko Haram: The Jihadist Killers Nigeria Seems Unable or Unwilling To Stop — How often has the Government of Nigeria Declared Victory over Boko Haram since 2009?

February 22, 2018

AFP

© AFP | Suicide bomb attacks and abductions have been the hallmarks of Boko Haram’s bloody insurgency

LAGOS (AFP) – Nigeria’s Boko Haram, suspected of another mass kidnapping of school girls, started out as an Islamic anti-corruption group but mutated into an IS affiliate waging a lethal insurgency.- Fundamentalist –

Boko Haram aims to create a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria — a campaign that has cost at least 20,000 lives since 2009 and at its peak displaced 2.6 million from their homes. The name loosely translates from the Hausa language as “Western education is forbidden”.

Founder and spiritual leader Mohammed Yusuf pinned the blame for Nigeria’s ills on Western values left by colonial master Britain, criticised the country’s corrupt secular regime for neglecting development in Muslim regions and advocated a return to fundamentalist Islam.

He came to the attention of authorities in 2002 when he began to build a following among disaffected youths in Maiduguri.

Yusuf was killed in police custody in 2009 after an uprising in Maiduguri that prompted a military assault which killed some 700 people and left the group’s mosque and headquarters in ruins.

Many of its supporters fled the country.

– Violent turn –

Boko Haram was broadly peaceful before Yusuf’s death.

But his successor, his right-hand man Abubakar Shekau, undertook a violent campaign of deadly attacks on schools, churches, mosques, state entities and security forces.

Some Boko Haram members are thought to have trained with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in northern Mali in 2012 and 2013.

Among the group’s most notorious acts was the April 2014 kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from the remote town of Chibok. A total of 107 have since been released, found or escaped.

The mass abduction brought world attention to the insurgency at a time when Boko Haram was seizing territory across the northeast, which became a largely no-go area, with the violence spilling over into Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

In August 2014 Shekau proclaimed a “caliphate” in the Borno town of Gwoza and in March 2015 pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

– Split –

The long-divided Boko Haram underwent a major split in 2016 when the IS recognised Yusuf’s son, Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi, as its leader.

The Barnawi faction is particularly active on the Chad and Niger borders and has said it will attack Nigerian government targets and the military.

Shekau’s faction operated out of the Sambisa Forest in Borno state, near the Cameroon border, and is responsible for unrelenting suicide bombings targeting civilians.

– Fight back –

President Muhammadu Buhari made crushing Boko Haram one of his priorities after he took office in May 2015.

The Nigerian military has since claimed to have reduced it to a spent and divided force but regular bloody raids and suicide bomb attacks continue.

The violence has forced 2.6 million from their homes since 2009, destroying property and farmland in the mainly rural northeast and sparking a humanitarian crisis and acute food shortages.

In January, troops from Nigeria and backed by others from Cameroon, Chad and Niger launched major offensives against the two Boko Haram factions.

The Nigerian military claimed “tremendous progress”.

Mass hearings started in October last year of 1,669 people arrested over the years on suspicion of being members of Boko Haram, including some women and children.

Since then more than 900 have been released, mostly for lack of evidence.

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Goodluck Jonathan

 (Has links to several previous articles)

Remember this from April 2014? From left: Michelle Obama, Cara Delevingne and Malala Yousafzai call for the release of the girls during the “hashtag campaign”

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja, Nigeria August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
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Scores of girls ‘missing’ after new Boko Haram school attack — Nigerian government spending a lot on arms, ammunitions, vehicles but it isn’t clear they really want to do away with Boko Haram

February 21, 2018

AFP

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© BOKO HARAM/AFP / by Aminu ABUBAKAR, with Phil HAZLEWOOD in Lagos | Fourteen missing ‘Chibok girls’ were seen in a video released on January 15 by their abductors

KANO (NIGERIA) (AFP) – Fears grew in northeast Nigeria on Wednesday about the fate of potentially scores of girls who have not been seen since a Boko Haram attack on their school two days ago.Militants stormed the Government Girls Science Secondary School in Dapchi, Yobe state, on Monday evening. Locals initially said the girls and their teachers fled the attack.

The jihadists gained worldwide notoriety in April 2014 when they abducted 276 girls from their school in Chibok, in neighbouring Borno state.

Fifty-seven escaped in the immediate aftermath and since May last year, 107 have either escaped or been released as part of a government-brokered deal. A total of 112 are still being held.

Monday’s incident sparked fears of a repeat of Chibok and on Wednesday morning some 50 parents and guardians gathered at the school demanding information.

“Our girls have been missing for two days and we don’t know their whereabouts,” Abubakar Shehu, whose niece is among those missing, told AFP.

“Although we were told they had run to some villages, we have been to all these villages mentioned without any luck. We are beginning to harbour fears the worst might have happened.

“We have the fear that we are dealing with another Chibok scenario.”

– Confused picture –

According to school staff, there were 710 students at the state-run boarding school, which caters for girls aged 11 and above.

Inuwa Mohammed, whose 16-year-old daughter, Falmata, is also missing, said it was a confused picture and that parents had been frantically searching surrounding villages.

“Nobody is telling us anything officially,” he said. “We still don’t know how many of our daughters were recovered and how many are still missing.

“We have been hearing many numbers, between 67 and 94.”

Police in the state, which is one of three in the northeast Nigeria worst-affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, said they had no reports of abductions following the attack.

Yobe’s education commissioner, Mohammed Lamin, said the school had been shut and a rollcall of all the girls who have returned was being conducted.

“It is only after the head-count that we will be able to say whether any girls were taken,” he said.

Some of the girls had fled to villages up to 30 kilometres (nearly 20 miles) away through the remote bushland, he added.

– Weapon of war –

Boko Haram has used kidnapping as a weapon of war since its insurgency began in 2009, seizing thousands of women and young girls, as well as men and boys of fighting age.

Some 300 children were among 500 people abducted from the town of Damasak in November 2014.

Getting accurate information from the remote northeast remains difficult. The army still largely controls access and infrastructure has been devastated by nine years of conflict.

In Chibok, the military initially claimed the students had all been found but was forced to back-track when parents and the school principal said otherwise.

As the issue gained world attention, spawning the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, the then president Goodluck Jonathan was increasingly criticised for his lacklustre response.

The mass abduction and Jonathan’s handling of it was seen as contributing to his 2015 election defeat to Muhammadu Buhari, who promised to bring the Boko Haram insurgency to an end.

But despite Buhari’s repeated claims the group is weakened to the point of defeat, civilians remain vulnerable to suicide attacks and hit-and-run raids in the remote northeast.

No-one from Buhari’s administration has yet commented on Dapchi.

Security analysts told AFP on Tuesday that government ransom payments to secure the release of the Chibok girls could have given the under-pressure group ideas for financing.

“They need money for arms, ammunitions, vehicles, to keep their army of fighters moving across the borders,” said Amaechi Nwokolo, from the Roman Institute of International Studies.

“They’re spending a lot of money on arms and logistics.”

by Aminu ABUBAKAR, with Phil HAZLEWOOD in Lagos
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Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, hat and closeup

Goodluck Jonathan

 (Has links to several previous articles)

Remember this from April 2014? From left: Michelle Obama, Cara Delevingne and Malala Yousafzai call for the release of the girls during the “hashtag campaign”

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja, Nigeria August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Nigeria releases 475 Boko Haram suspects for rehabilitation

February 18, 2018

Reuters

ABUJA (Reuters) – A Nigerian court has released 475 people allegedly affiliated with Boko Haram for rehabilitation, the justice ministry said on Sunday, as the country’s biggest legal investigation of the militant Islamist insurgency continues.

The first person convicted for the kidnapping in 2014 of Chibok schoolgirls, sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment last week, was also handed an addition 15-year sentence, to run back-to-back, the justice ministry said in a statement.

More than 20,000 people have been killed and two million forced to flee their homes in northeastern Nigeria since Boko Haram began an insurgency in 2009 aimed at creating an Islamic state.

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Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau and his top lieutenants

But humanitarian groups have criticized the Nigerian authorities’ handling of those detained for infringing on the suspects’ rights.

Some of those whose cases were heard last week in a detention center in central Nigeria had been held without trial since 2010, according to the justice ministry statement.

“The prosecution counsel could not charge them (with) any offence due to lack of sufficient evidence against them,” the ministry said.

In October, the ministry said 45 people suspected of Boko Haram links had been convicted and jailed. A further 468 suspects were discharged and 28 suspects were remanded for trial in Abuja or Minna.

Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Susan Fenton

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Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, hat and closeup

Goodluck Jonathan

 (Has links to several previous articles)

Remember this from April 2014? From left: Michelle Obama, Cara Delevingne and Malala Yousafzai call for the release of the girls during the “hashtag campaign”

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja, Nigeria August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Nigeria: Boko Haram blamed as suicide blasts kill 19

February 18, 2018

Al Jazeera

The attack, which killed at least 19 people, took place at a fish market close to Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria.

Three bombers have killed at least 19 people, as well as themselves, in an attack on a fish market in northeastern Nigeria, according to authorities.

Another 70 people were wounded when the attackers detonated their explosives on Friday evening about 20km from the centre of Maiduguri, in Borno state, police said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the use of suicide bombers in crowded areas is a hallmark of Boko Haram, an armed group waging a violent campaign in the area since 2009.

Babakura Kolo and Musa Ari, from the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) helping Nigeria’s army against Boko Haram, said the bombers were all men.

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Nigerians displaced by Boko Haram barter to survive

“Two of the bombers attacked the Tashan Kifi fish market. Then four minutes later, a third bomber struck nearby,” Kolo was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

“The victims included 18 civilians and one soldier. The Tashan Kifi is an informal market which serves as an eatery, market and also hang-out for residents.”

Ari said 22 of the 70 injured were in a critical condition, adding that there was “no question” Boko Haram was behind the attack.

Borno state is the part of Nigeria that is worst hit by the Boko Haram attacks.

Bombings have continued despite repeated assertions by the government and the military since 2016 to have defeated Boko Haram, which aims to create an Islamic state in Nigeria’s northeast.

President Muhammadu Buhari took office in 2015 with a promise to improve security for ordinary Nigerians.

The conflict with Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people and forced over two million to flee their homes.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

Suicide bombers kill at least 19 in northeast Nigeria market attack — How often has the Government of Nigeria Declared Victory over Boko Haram since 2009?

February 17, 2018

AFP

© Stringer/AFP | A man stands with his back to the blood stained scene of three suicide bomb blasts that left 13 people dead in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria, on October 23, 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2018-02-17

Three suicide bombers killed 19 people at a fish market in northeast Nigeria, civilian militia leaders said on Saturday, in an attack blamed on Boko Haram jihadists.

 
© AFP | Map locating Konduga in northeast Nigeria, where three suicide attacks were carried out at about 8:30 pm (1930 GMT) on Friday

The blasts happened at about 8:30 pm (1930 GMT) on Friday in Konduga, some 35 kilometres (20 miles) southeast of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.

Babakura Kolo and Musa Ari, from the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) assisting Nigeria’s military against the Islamists, said the bombers were all men.

“We have 19 dead and about 70 others injured… Two of the bombers attacked the Tashan Kifi fish market. Then four minutes later, a third bomber struck nearby,” said Kolo.

“The victims included 18 civilians and one soldier. The Tashan Kifi is an informal market which serves as an eatery, market and also hang-out for residents.”

Ari said 22 of the 70 injured were in a critical condition, adding: “There is no question as to who did it: Boko Haram has targeted Konduga several times.”

There was no immediate comment from the military or the police in Borno state, which has borne the brunt of the violence in Boko Haram’s nearly nine-year insurgency.

At least 20,000 people have been killed and more than 2.6 million others made homeless since 2009. Nigeria’s military and government maintains the group is a spent force.

 

Security forces view the scene of a bomb explosion at St. Theresa Catholic Church at Madalla, Suleja, in a previous Boko Haram attack in this file photo.(Reuters)

But suicide attacks and raids persist, with civilians in hard-to-reach rural areas and outlying towns at risk.

On January 31, two female suicide bombers blew themselves up at Mandarari village, near Konduga.

The blasts happened shortly after another bomber killed four and injured 44 at a displaced persons’ camp in Dalori, 22 kilometres away on the same road to Maiduguri.

A fourth bomber also blew herself up outside the camp.

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Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, hat and closeup

Goodluck Jonathan

 (Has links to several previous articles)

Remember this from April 2014? From left: Michelle Obama, Cara Delevingne and Malala Yousafzai call for the release of the girls during the “hashtag campaign”

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja, Nigeria August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Suicide bombers target northeast Nigeria in Boko Haram ‘fight-back’

February 1, 2018

Security forces view the scene of a bomb explosion at St. Theresa Catholic Church at Madalla, Suleja, in a previous Boko Haram attack in this file photo.(Reuters)
KANO: Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up in northeast Nigeria, shortly after another bomber killed four at a displaced persons’ camp, an emergency services official said on Thursday.
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The failed mission at Mandarari village, near the town of Konduga in Borno state, and the successful attack just outside the state capital, Maiduguri, both came after ramped-up military action against Boko Haram militants.
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Nigeria’s military announced in late 2016 that it had cleared the jihadists’ Sambisa Forest stronghold but they are said to have since returned.
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The head of the Borno state emergency management agency, Ahmed Satomi, said soldiers and civilian militia intercepted two women at Mandarari at about 9:00 p.m. (2000 GMT) on Wednesday.
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“The women detonated their explosives, killing themselves, having realized they had been uncovered,” he told AFP.
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About 45 minutes earlier, a male suicide bomber scaled a rear fence at the Dalori camp on the outskirts of Maiduguri and blew himself up. As well as the four who died, 44 were injured.
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Shortly afterwards, a female suicide bomber detonated her explosives outside the camp, killing only herself, said Idris Garga, head of Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in the northeast.
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Satomi told AFP: “The failed suicide attack (at Mandarari) and the one at Dalori IDP camp are clearly the work of Boko Haram.
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“They are trying to hit back as a result of the pressure the military has exerted on them in the current military operations against them in Sambisa forest.
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“This is why we emphasised the need for people to be vigilant and keep an eye on strange faces coming into their communities as Boko Haram insurgents are trying to attack civilian targets in response to the losses they suffer in the hands of the military.”
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The conflict, which began in 2009, has killed at least 20,000 and left more than 2.6 million others homeless.
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Nigeria’s military and government maintain the Daesh group affiliate is a spent force but there has been little let up in violence.
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The BBC said in data published last week that the group killed at least 967 people in 150 attacks in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger in 2017, up on 2016 when 910 deaths were reported in 127 attacks.

Boko Haram kills nine in NE Nigeria — Nigeria’s military and government maintain the insurgents are a spent force, after nearly nine years of violence that has killed at least 20 000 people

January 17, 2018

Image may contain: one or more people

AFP

Kano – Boko Haram jihadists have killed nine people in two separate attacks in northeast Nigeria, militia members and local residents said on Tuesday, underlining the persistent threat to civilians.The first attack happened at about 11:00 on Monday when six people collecting firewood were shot dead in Jinene village, near the border town of Ngala, in Borno state.

The second occurred in Pallam village, in the Madagali area of neighbouring Adamawa state, at about 23:30, and saw the militants seize food, before burning several shops and homes.

Image result for Ngala, Borno state, map

Nigeria’s military and government maintain the insurgents are a spent force, after nearly nine years of violence that has killed at least 20 000 people and forced more than 2.6 million others from their homes.

But hit-and-run raids and suicide bomb attacks, including in and around camps for the displaced, are a constant menace, exacerbating already precarious living conditions in the impoverished remote region.

Loggers, many of whom live in the camps and are forced to collect wood in the unprotected bush to to sell, have been particularly vulnerable. Scores have been killed in recent months.

Lingering threat

Umar Kachalla, a civilian militia leader from the town of Gamboru, near Ngala, said the latest attack was carried out by jihadists who arrived on motorcycles.

“Six people were killed by the gunmen who also abducted five girls who joined the loggers to collect firewood from the Jinene woods,” he told AFP.

The loggers were among 80 000 internally displaced people (IDPs) sheltering in a camp at Ngala, 3km away.

“Some of the loggers managed to escape and made it back to the camp and informed the soldiers,” he added.

The attackers made off with some 500 goats after they shot and injured two shepherds in a field near the displaced camp. The goats belonged to some of the IDPs.

Ngala resident Abubakar Yusuf, who gave similar account, said residents were afraid to leave the town for fear of Boko Haram attacks.

“They are out in the bush, moving on motorcycles and killing anyone they come across,” he said.

In August 2014, Boko Haram seized Ngala and Gamboru. Nigerian troops retook both towns in September 2015 with the help of Chadian forces after months of fighting.

But despite the recapture, Boko Haram fighters continue to launch sporadic raids, ambushing troops and vehicles, as well as attacking and abducting farmers.

At least 31 loggers have not been seen since January 2 and are believed to have been abducted near Gamboru.

They had left the town to fetch firewood in a Boko Haram hotspot 15 kilometres away, where 10 other loggers had been killed two weeks earlier.

In September last year Boko Haram killed seven people when they fired a rocket-propelled grenade into the IDP camp.

Hit-and-run raids 

Monday’s attack in Adamawa was the first in the state this year after a spate of raids and suicide bombings, including in November, when at least 50 people were killed at a mosque in the town of Mubi.

Maina Ularamu, a former Madagali local government chairman, said three people were killed and two others were critically injured.

Resident David Maigrai supported Ularamu’s account and added: “They burnt several shops and many homes. They also stole food.

“On their way out of the village, they ran into a group of vigilantes on patrol in Kuda village, who engaged them in a shoot-out, killing two of the attackers.”

There have been repeated attacks in and around Madagali, which borders Borno state and the militants’ Sambisa Forest stronghold.

Read more on:    boko haram  |  nigeria  |  west africa
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U.N. Relations With Nigeria ‘Intact’ After Dispute Over Army Raid

August 12, 2017

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — The United Nations’ relationship with Nigeria is intact, a U.N. official said on Saturday, despite a military raid on a compound belonging to the international body in the conflict-ridden northeast.

“I am very pleased to report that our relationship of collaboration and trust is intact,” Peter Lundberg, the U.N. deputy humanitarian coordinator for Nigeria, said at a briefing in the northeastern city of Maiduguri.

Friday’s raid had threatened to undermine an already-rocky relationship between Nigeria’s military and the United Nations and other aid organizations.

The army said it was a search for members of Islamist insurgency Boko Haram in Maiduguri, the epicenter of the fight against the militants, in an area of the city that included the U.N. compound.

The army and United Nations still disagree over whether the compound was registered and designated as belonging to the U.N.

A worsening of relations between the U.N. and Nigeria could risk destabilizing efforts to deliver aid to almost seven million people affected by the eight-year conflict with Boko Haram, one of the biggest humanitarian crises in the world.

The United Nations on Friday had halted various operations around the northeast, but following reassurances from Nigeria those resumed on Saturday, said Lundberg.

“We are here in support of the government of Nigeria, the United Nations agencies and over 60 non-government organizations,” said Lundberg.

In a separate statement, Ibrahim Attahiru, a commander of Nigeria’s operations against Boko Haram, said the army was not trying to block the United Nations’ activities.

“We will continue to collaborate with the United Nations humanitarian agencies to achieve the goals of the counter-insurgency campaign and other developments to address the humanitarian crisis in the northeast region,” he said.

(Reporting by Ahmed Kingimi in Maiduguri; Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Andrew Bolton)

After Boko Haram Islamic extremists attack a remote military base in northeast Nigeria: 83 government soldiers are missing

October 23, 2016

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Some 83 Nigerian soldiers are missing in action since Boko Haram Islamic extremists attacked a remote military base in the northeast, senior army officers said Sunday.

The soldiers were unable to fight back and fled because Boko Haram had superior fire power, the officers told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to give information to reporters.

Morale also was low among the troops because they were being rationed to one meal a day and their allowances were being pilfered by their commanders, the officers said.

Army spokesman Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman reported last week that “some” soldiers were missing and 13 wounded when the insurgents on Oct. 17 attacked their base in Gashigar village, on the border with Niger. Usman has not responded to requests for the actual number.

Dozens of fleeing troops jumped into the Niger River and 22 were pulled from the water by soldiers from that neighboring country, officers said. Many soldiers are feared to have drowned, they said.

In a separate development, hunters killed seven Boko Haram fighters who were burning buildings and huts in northeastern Makwaa village, the hunters and villagers confirmed Sunday. “We engaged them in a fierce battle for close to three hours, we overpowered them, resulting in the killing of seven,” hunter Aisha Gombi said of Saturday night’s firefight. “One was caught alive with gun wounds and others escaped into the bush.”

President Muhammadu Buhari promised to better arm Nigeria’s military when he was elected in March 2015, blaming corruption for the deaths of thousands including soldiers in the 7-year-old Islamic insurgency that has killed more than 20,000 people.

Billions of dollars meant to buy arms were stolen or diverted to the presidential campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan, according to ongoing court cases.

Military officers also are currently facing courts-martial for allegedly selling arms and ammunition to Boko Haram, indicating the corruption bedeviling the country’s fight against the Islamic extremists continues despite government efforts to halt graft.

Still, the military in the past year has succeeded in dislodging the insurgents from most towns and villages where they had set up an Islamic caliphate. But the extremists continue to attack remote villages and main roads that they have mined. Nigeria’s army has reported thwarting and killing several suicide bombers in the past month.

The United Nations has warned that tens of thousands among the 2.6 million people forced from their homes by the insurgency are facing famine-like conditions that already are killing children.

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Faul reported from Lagos, Nigeria. Associated Press writer Ibrahim Abdulaziz contributed to this report from Yola, Nigeria.

United Nations says famine-like conditions created by Boko Haram in Nigeria could cause as many as 75,000 children to die over the next year

September 29, 2016

By Michelle Faul
The Associated Press
September 29, 2016

As many as 75,000 children will die over the next year in famine-like conditions created by Boko Haram if donors don’t respond quickly, the U.N. Children’s Fund is warning. That’s far more than the 20,000 people killed in the seven-year Islamic uprising.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, seen here in a video. Credit © Boko Haram/AFP/File

The severity of malnutrition levels and high number of children facing death make the humanitarian crisis confronting northeastern Nigeria perhaps the worst in the world, according to Arjan de Wagt, nutrition chief for UNICEF in Nigeria. He said children already are dying but donors are not responding.

Most severely malnourished children die of secondary illnesses like diarrhea and respiratory infections, de Wagt told The Associated Press. “But with famine, you actually die of hunger,” and that is what is happening, he said.

Severe malnutrition is being found in 20, 30 and even 50 percent of children in pockets of the region, he said.

“Globally, you just don’t see this. You have to go back to places like Somalia five years ago to see these kinds of levels,” de Wagt said. Nearly 260,000 people died in Somalia between 2010 and 2012 from severe drought aggravated by war. At the time, the United Nations said aid needed to be provided more quickly.

UNICEF on Thursday doubled the amount of its appeal for Nigeria, saying $115 million is needed to save children whose “lives are literally hanging by a thread.” Only $24 million has been raised so far, the agency said.

The lack of money has meant some 750,000 people living in accessible areas could not be helped this year, spokeswoman Doune Porter told the AP.

Most of the estimated 2.6 million people who fled Boko Haram’s insurgency are subsistence farmers who have been unable to plant for two years or more.

Nigeria Minister of Budget and National Planning Sen. Udoma Udo-Udoma

Several thousand people returned this month from refugee camps to towns being secured by Nigeria’s military, but it’s too late to plant as the rainy season draws to an end. Meanwhile, Boko Haram still attacks outside urban areas.

Of 4 million people in desperate need of food are about 2.2 million people trapped in areas where Boko Haram is operating or in newly liberated areas that still are too dangerous to reach by road, de Wagt said. Among them, 65,000 are living in famine-like conditions.

The crisis has reached “catastrophic levels” for people who have sought refuge in towns controlled by the military but who are “entirely reliant on outside aid that does not reach them,” aid group Doctors Without Borders said Wednesday.

“Many families are only able to eat once every few days and usually only watered-down porridge,” said Oxfam aid group spokeswoman Christina Corbett. “They are going to bed hungry and waking up with no way to change that.”

Why Nigerian economy is in trouble - Buhari

 Nigeria’s President Buhari

 

UNICEF limited its outreach to the region after Boko Haram fighters attacked a military-escorted humanitarian convoy in July, wounding a UNICEF worker and others when a rocket hit an armored car.

But de Wagt said the agency continues to deliver some therapeutic food by helicopter and to train local health workers to treat malnourished children living in dangerous areas.

Doctors Without Borders, also known by the French acronym MSF, said the highest levels of starving children are in camps in Maiduguri, the northeastern city free of conflict where aid workers have been active for two years.

“The mortality rate is five times higher than what is considered an emergency, with the main cause being hunger,” it said in its statement.

The Associated Press has reported recent allegations by displaced people and aid workers that food aid is being stolen in Maiduguri. Nigeria’s government has said it would investigate.

MSF said Nigerian authorities are responsible for ensuring aid is delivered and described the overall aid response as “massively insufficient, uncoordinated and ill-adapted.”

Muhammad Kanar, the area coordinator for Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency, denied there is even one case of malnutrition in Maiduguri. Some officials from his agency, which manages the camps, are among several accused of stealing food aid.

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Associated Press writer Haruna Umar contributed to this report from Maiduguri, Nigeria.

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