At least 10.6 million people in Nigeria’s northeast urgently need aid as a combination of Covid-19 restrictions and increasing insurgent attacks put the civilian population in peril, according to the United Nations.
“This is roughly the population of Belgium and twice the population of Norway,” Edward Kallon, the UN resident coordinator in Nigeria, told reporters Thursday. “At the same time as we are fighting the pandemic, I have been shocked, saddened and outraged by the brutal attacks targeting civilians, including aid workers.”
Each year since the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency started in the region in 2009, an additional one million people are being made food insecure, said Kallon. Almost 60,000 people have fled their homes since January, with at least 1.9 million people in internally displaced camps, where most sleep in the open, the UN said.
The Islamist militants, some factions of which are aligned to Islamic State, are conducting a violent campaign to impose their version of Islamic law on Africa’s most populous country of more than 200 million people. The government estimates that more than 30,000 people have died in the 11 years of the conflict, reports Bloomberg.