Suicide bombings, famine, disease spread misery in Nigeria

Terrorism | Seven killed in new attacks as aid groups appeal for more help
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 4/25/17, 10:25 am

ABUJA, Nigeria—Two suicide bomb attacks on Monday killed at least seven people in Maiduguri, Boko Haram’s birthplace. The latest attack comes as aid workers scramble to respond to the famine triggered by the terror group’s insurgency.

Murtala Ibrahim, the state command deputy spokesman, said three female suicide bombers who had improvised explosive devices strapped to their bodies carried out the first attack. The bombers tried to enter Mamanti village when members of the civilian task force caught them. One of the girls blew herself up while the forces shot and killed the other two girls, the statement said.

In a separate incident, a suicide bomber targeted civilians on the outskirts of Maiduguri.

“A suspected Boko Haram member disguised as a cart pusher was intercepted by residents of the community,” police chief Damian Chukwu told Andalou Agency. “He detonated the IED in his cart, killing three nearby civilians while two others were injured.”

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Security officials have cleared Boko Haram terrorists from their stronghold in the state, but the group persists with sporadic attacks. The Islamic militants last week killed at least eight soldiers and wounded 11 others in a three-day ambush attack on a military base in Borno state.

The crisis has left about 4.7 million people in need of food, with some 43,800 of them already facing famine, the United Nations has said. Boko Haram’s insurgency has cut off about 700,000 people in remote parts of the region from receiving aid. The UN on Monday warned aid organizations battling famine in the region could run out of food by June if they do not get the funds pledged to them. Peter Lundberg, the UN’s deputy humanitarian coordinator for Nigeria, said aid agencies have only received 19 percent of the money they appealed for.

“They may have to cut rations instead of scaling up as they should ahead of the rainy season,” Lundberg said.

U.S.-based health relief organization Project HOPE last week warned a health crisis also looms in the region. Project HOPE representatives said only 40 of the region’s previously existing 127 primary healthcare centers are functioning, while more than 40 percent of secondary health facilities have been destroyed.

“A steep rise in malnutrition rates, along with a sharp increase in waterborne diseases … have been reported in the state as the number of people who were forced from their homes and had their livelihoods destroyed by Boko Haram has grown to nearly 2 million,” the group said in a statement.

Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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