Nigeria Boko Haram: Scores of refugees starved to death – MSF

bokoNearly 200 refugees fleeing Boko Haram militants have starved to death over the past month in Bama, Nigeria, the medical charity MSF says.

A “catastrophic humanitarian emergency” is unfolding at a camp it visited where 24,000 people have taken refuge.

Many inhabitants are traumatised and one in five children is suffering from acute malnutrition, MSF says.

The Islamist group’s seven-year rebellion has left 20,000 people dead and more than two million displaced.

Nigeria’s military has carried out a large-scale offensive against them but Boko Haram still attacks villages in the north-east, destroying homes and burning down wells.

Displaced people in Bama say new graves are appearing on a daily basis, according to a statement from MSF.

group of children at the Bama campImage copyrightMSF
Image captionMSF’s visit to the camp was only possible with an army escort

It quoted inhabitants as saying about 30 people died every day due to hunger or illness.

Although the area has been unsafe to travel through, MSF says one of its teams reached Bama on Tuesday.

It went in with a military convoy from the city of Maiduguri in Borno state.

Map of Nigeria, showing Bama in the northeast, relative to capital Abuja and big city Lagos

“This is the first time MSF has been able to access Bama, but we already know the needs of the people there are beyond critical,” said Ghada Hatim, MSF head of mission in Nigeria.

“We are treating malnourished children in medical facilities in Maiduguri and see the trauma on the faces of our patients who have witnessed and survived many horrors,” he said.


Boko Haram at a glance:

Boko Haram fighters in video released on Wednesday 7 October 2015Image copyrightSCREENGRAB
Image captionBoko Haram fighters still appear well armed in recent propaganda videos
  • Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, hundreds abducted, including at least 200 schoolgirls
  • Joined so-called Islamic State, now calls itself IS’s “West African province”
  • Seized large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate
  • Regional force has retaken most territory last year

Town divided by Boko Haram legacy

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