UN says clashes in northeast Nigeria have “created a humanitarian tragedy”

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The United Nations warns that an upsurge in violence in northeast Nigeria “has created a humanitarian tragedy.”

The security situation in the region was brought to international limelight five years ago when Islamist militant group Boko Haram abducted some 276 schoolgirls.

Continued attacks by the militants have forced tens of thousands of Nigerians to flee, prompting “grave concern from the UN envoy there. 

One of the latest incidents came on December 26 when government troops clashed with non-state armed groups in Baga Town, forcing thousands to flee their homes. 

Another attempted attack on 28 December in Monguno, further exacerbated the situation, leading to more displacement.

“The impact of the recent fighting on innocent civilians is devastating and has created a humanitarian tragedy,” said UN Humanitarian Coordinator Edward Kallon after visiting Monguno and Teachers Village camp for internally displaced people in Maiduguri.

“It is heart-wrenching to see so many of these people living in congested camps, or sleeping outside with no shelter,” he lamented.

“The United Nations is extremely concerned about the impact that violence in north-east Nigeria, especially in Borno State, is having on civilians”, he added.

Earlier this week, the UN said more than 30,000 people had fled Baga, the majority of whom departed since December 20.

To deal with the displacements, the UN is collaborating with local authorities to provide much needed aid to the displaced persons.

The agency has however called for security, saying continued clashes will only lead to more displacements which will stretch humanitarian activities.