Nigeria must beef up protection for civilians at displaced persons’ camps following a deadly attack by Boko Haram militants, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.
Armed men attacked the camp at night, killing at least eight people and injuring dozens more, OCHA reported. The camp, which houses 12,000 internally displaced people, is near Dalori village, a few kilometers from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
The militants kidnapped women, and burned and looted homes, shelters and food stocks, OCHA spokesman Jens Laerke said. Hundreds of civilians have fled; their whereabouts are unknown.
Laerke told VOA that Borno is the worst affected of the three states which have been under attack by Boko Haram insurgents since 2009. He said it is the epicenter of displacement and the humanitarian crisis, and is particularly vulnerable to lethal attacks by armed groups.
The U.N. is urging the government to do more to increase security and protect civilians.
“The entire environment there is highly militarized,” Laerke said. “That goes both for the government forces and, of course, the armed groups which are there. It is highly insecure.”
The IDP camp that came under attack is one of nine in Dalori. The camps were set up in 2015 and are home to 47,500 civilians.
Laerke noted more than 20 organizations provide food, water, sanitation and other essential aid to the inhabitants. Given the dangers, however, aid agencies only operate during the day. Consequently, he said, none of the agencies was present at night when the attack occurred.
The Nigerian military has recaptured territory seized by the Islamist militants but has yet to stop the attacks.
Since the start of the conflict in 2009, the United Nations reports more than 27,000 people have been killed, thousands of women and girls have been abducted, and children have been used as suicide bombers.