No one wants to leave his home for an unknown land, but in the northeast of Nigeria, this situation is increasingly occurring, as Boko Haram intensifies push to take hold of communities.
Between November and end of January, 59,200 persons have fled their homes in communities in the northeast, in a quest for a safe haven, at least, where they will be free from Boko Haram attacks.
For over 9 years, the extremist group has pushed for an Islamic State in the region, killing and destroying homes while also making people give up education.
On February 5, the United Nations migration agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) gave a clear picture of things in the region.
This update ha opened up why it has been hard for the Nigerian Army and other troops to end their activities could be seen.
The IOM Nigeria’s Chief of Mission, Frantz Celestin, painted a picture of how the dissident group launched attacks on communities.
In Rann, a community attacked two times in January -14 and 27, according to Celestin, officials of the agency had to hide in septic tanks to escape death. One of them was shot in the shoulder, he said.
The UN agency official on Tuesday said the last two months of 2018 were marked by “an increased sophistication” of non-State armed groups, accompanied by “an increased number of attacks and success in taking towns”.
Mr Celestin explained that the extremists’ use of “hit-and-run” tactics, trucks and motorbikes had made their attacks swift and difficult to predict.
This, apparently has made it hard for troops to contain their attacks.
In the town of Rann, which was attacked twice last month, “nobody was spared” in one assault, Mr Celestin said.
Amid ongoing insecurity, humanitarian access is limited, hampering the ability of aid agencies to assess needs comprehensively.
Tens of thousands of civilians have fled into already overcrowded camps, mainly in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
According to him, “one of our biggest issues in north-east Nigeria in addition to the security issues is the land, access to land.
“We have a number of camps that are overcrowded, in fact, if we were to take all of the camps together, we would have more than 249,000 people in camps that are completely congested, with Monguno (Borno) being the largest one of them”.
Rumours of imminent attack are enough to convince communities to flee, the IOM official explained, noting that people had sought refuge in neighbouring countries of the Lake Chad region.
“There were a number of people who moved across a number of villages in Cameroon,” Mr Celestin said.
“Some of them were returned…they crossed the border and they were turned back. And for the recent (displacement) one, I don’t have the specific numbers; I’ve heard 30,000, but I have not been able to prove it.”
In 2018, according to the UN humanitarian wing, OCHA, 7.7 million people in Nigeria were in need of humanitarian assistance, and 1.7 million people were classified as “food insecure” between October and December.