Boko Haram ‘weakened’ but still a big threat

first_imgMore than 7,300 civilians have been killed by Boko Haram since the beginning of 2014 in three ‘state of emergency’ States, including 1,000 people this year alone.Boko Haram is still a big security threat to the people of Nigeria even though the group has been weakened.This was said by the special representative of  the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) Mohamed Ibn Chambas  during a security council meeting that the militants continue to commit horrendous acts against civilians, including against women and children.He was addressing the 15-member body on the impact of Boko Haram in Nigeria and beyond  warning of the group’s intensified violence and brutality at a meeting which was convened on Monday to discuss threats to international peace and security caused by terrorism.Chambas pointed out that Boko Haram’s recent allegiance to the Islamic State for Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), whether for publicity reasons or to tap into ISIL’s support, is also of concern as it is gives a clear signal that Boko Haram’s agenda goes well beyond NigeriaMr. Chambas, who was joined in the Council by Assistant Secretary-General Kyung Wha-Kang of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, outlined reports of the abduction, abuse, recruiting, maiming and killing of children.He said schools in the country’s north-east and in areas of Cameroon and Niger targeted by Boko Haram no longer safe places of learning, with many attacked, looted, and destroyed.“In 2014, the group also commenced using young girls as suicide bombers for attacks in populated urban areas,” he said. “We have also observed an alarming trend of children being used by the group as human shields.”Humanitarian crisisMs Kang described the humanitarian needs arising from Boko Haram attacks, saying that more than 7,300 civilians had been killed by Boko Haram since the beginning of 2014 in the three ‘state of emergency’ States, including 1,000 people this year alone.As many as three million people in northern Nigeria would not be able to meet their basic food needs after July 2015 without humanitarian aid and the work of Federal and State authorities was not enough to meet those needs.“The humanitarian situation in north-east Nigeria and in the conflict-affected areas in neighboring countries remains dire,” said Ms. Kang.“The conflict continues to have a devastating impact on women, children and young people, as well as on many others who have been traumatized by violence. Additional funding to address the acute humanitarian needs of those affected by the conflict is urgently needed.”She said Boko Haram’s activities had created tens of thousands of refugees, returnees and internally displaced people in Chad, Cameroon and Niger, with schools and health services badly affected, and frequent reports of gross human rights violations.Mr. Chambas stressed the issue of human rights abuses, pointing to evaluation missions launched by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) that visited the Far North region of Cameroon and the Diffa region of Niger.Both found human rights abuses, including indiscriminate killing of civilians, abductions and forcible recruitment of civilians into combat.last_img

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