By Henry Okonkwo
Médecins Sans Frontières, an international aid group, has warned that the rising violence in the North-East was drifting the region closer to a humanitarian crisis.
MSF said this in a statement to raise concern following several violent communal clashes, looting, stealing and kidnapping for ransom, plus the high number of people fleeing to areas where aid groups are struggling to respond.
According to Froukje Pelsma, MSF head of mission in Nigeria, what is happening in the region was a “humanitarian crisis that needs emergency attention and a fast and proper response.”
MSF said that they had already treated 10,300 children in Zamfara between January and April for severe acute malnutrition, measles, malaria and other conditions.
The statement read, “This is 54 per cent higher than in the same period last year.
“People here need food, safe water and vaccinations now.
“Families tell us they won’t be able to farm for the new season, which means a new cycle of hunger.
“In Zamfara state, criminal gangs known locally as bandits have set up camps in Rugu forest, which they use as a springboard for attacks in neighbouring Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi and Niger states.
“Security forces, who are also battling a more than decade-long jihadist insurgency in the northeast of the country, are being stretched thin.
“As violence spirals in the northwest, sexual violence has intensified, as gunmen assault some of their kidnapped victims.
“Fear of travelling along dangerous roads means that rape survivors often seek support late, or not at all.”