Thousands Displaced by Boko Haram Raids

Thousands Displaced by Boko Haram RaidsThousands Displaced by Boko Haram Raids

Thousands of people fleeing the latest Boko Haram violence have poured into the embattled Nigerian city of Maiduguri, putting pressure on camps for the displaced as rescue workers try to cope with the influx.

A group of 5,000 people, most of them women and children, reached the Borno state capital on Monday after escaping Boko Haram’s weekend takeover of the nearby town of Monguno, officials said, AFP reported.

“We moved on throughout Sunday through the bushes and did not relent, even at night,” said Karimu Usman, a Monguno community leader, who told reporters he led a group of 300 others on the overnight march.

Many of those who fled only arrived after escaping a massive Boko Haram attack on the town of Baga earlier this month, which reportedly killed hundreds of people, destroyed thousands of homes and prompted global outrage.

Boko Haram has taken over much of northeast Nigeria and the insurgents seem capable of attacking large population centres at will.

Election officials have admitted that it will be impossible to organize polling across much of the northeast for the country’s February 14 vote.

The United Nations has said there are more than one million internally displaced people (IDPs) in the region, and hundreds of thousands of them have sought sanctuary in Maiduguri, swelling a population estimated last year at over two million.

There were 7,000 cases of cholera recorded in the city between September and December, half of them in IDP camps, and sanitation remained dire, according to MSF.