At least 220,000 residents of the north-east have reportedly been abandoned as a result of a new strategy the military adopted in the war against Boko Haram.
Reuters is reporting that the strategy tagged: “Super Camps”, has also made humanitarian agencies unable to reach an estimated 100,000 residents.
The Nigerian military recently set up about 20 super camps to curtail the activities of the insurgents across the north-east.
But Reuters quoted sources at an international aid organisation as well as security officials as saying the insurgents have taken advantage of the soldiers’ withdrawal to torment residents.
The report said the the army’s withdrawal “coincided with a string of insurgent raids on newly unprotected towns and has left the militants free to set up checkpoints on roads as they roam more freely across the countryside.”
‘NO ACCESS FOR HUMANITARIAN AGENCIES’
The situation has been described as “a mess and a disaster for humanitarian actors.”
The news agency quoted security sources as saying soldiers no longer protect some key roads, “cutting off access for humanitarians workers as more of the region falls under the sway of the insurgents.”
“The military departures so far have cut off more than 100,000 people from aid and if more soldiers go, as many as 121,000 other civilians could flee their towns,” one of the relief agencies reportedly said in its briefing note.
“The population of towns being abandoned by the military is a combined 223,000 people.”
While announcing the new strategy, Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, had said it entails the “concentration of formidable fighting force in strongholds that have the capacity for swift mobility.”
But a lot of Nigerians including Babagana Zulum, governor of Borno state, blamed fresh attacks on the new strategy.
TheCable reached out to Sagir Musa, army spokesman, to respond to the report, but he had not done so as of the time this report was filed.
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