Boko Haram militants continue to wreak havoc across Nigeria, as tens of thousands of Christians and Muslims have reportedly fled the region to survive.
The Muslim extremist group most recently overtook the northeastern town of Michika and fought Nigerian and Cameroonian troops, killing hundreds. BBC News reports that former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo’s son was shot and injured in a battle as the insurgents attacked the town of Bazza.
Father Patrick Tor Alumuku of the archdiocese of Abuja said, "Several churches are in ruins and tens of thousands, mainly Christians, are running to escape Boko Haram.”
“Boko Haram is determined to eliminate every sign of Christian presence and many churches have been destroyed or torched. Last week in a village in the area of Maiduguri, Boko Haram took over the parish for its local headquarters."
Alumuku said that the refugees are not all Christians. "Some are chiefs of villages and towns, others are Muslim religious leaders (Emirs) who cannot identify with what is being committed by Boko Haram.”
Still, many residents remain trapped in violence areas. “Unfortunately, a good number of these displaced persons cannot escape from the combat areas and getting humanitarian aid to them is very difficult. Only people outside these areas can reached by assistance,” Alumuku said.
“If a city like Maiduguri with a population of more than one million were to be attacked by the Boko Haram offensive, the result would be an extremely serious humanitarian disaster."
Publication date: September 9, 2014