Boko Haram resurgence deepens humanitarian crisis in Niger

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Boko Haram’s Abubakar Shekau and his lieutenants
Niger, (Reuters) – A wave of attacks by Islamist insurgents Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria and the islands of Lake Chad has forced tens of thousands across the border to Niger’s arid southeastern region of Diffa, worsening a dire humanitarian situation.
An estimated 150,000 people have fled to Diffa in the past two years, according to aid agencies, increasing by one-third the population of the remote region that is largely dependent on aid and suffers from perennial food shortages.
In recent weeks, Boko Haram insurgents have stepped up suicide attacks and raids on villages in Nigeria and surrounding countries in reprisal for an offensive by regional governments against them this year.
The flood of refugees comes as a state of emergency declared by Niger to tackle the insurgency has brought Diffa’s economy to a standstill, stiffling revenues from fishing and the trade in peppers, and leaving the population vulnerable.
“We fled all night. I was very scared and I’m still scared. We left everything behind,” said Lagari Fogo, a Nigeria refugee at a camp in Gagamari, who said Boko Haram attacked his village 11 days ago.
In the makeshift camps, some people drape plastic sheeting over thorny bushes to shelter from the relentless glare of the sun. Their meagre belongings, often no more than a few blanquets and some pots and pans, are gathered around them.
“We are suffering. We are suffering and it is not over,” said Adam Abdoulaye, 35, a father of seven, as he collected a food package from the World Food Programme.
Abdoulaye said commercial activity in the town of Diffa, the regional capital, had been curtailed by the state of emergency and persistent Boko Haram attacks.
“The food situation in Diffa has always been that of chronic shortage,” said Michel Hulais, head of the World Food Programme …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper