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Nigerian extremists are still ‘very dangerous’, says UN official

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Nigerian extremists are still ‘very dangerous’, says UN official

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A senior UN official says the extremist Islamist insurgency in northeast Nigeria is a ‘very, very dangerous (and) very threatening’ crisis that needs more than $1 billion in aid in 2022 to help those affected by the decade-long conflict.

ABUJA, Nigeria — The extremist Islamist insurgency in northeast Nigeria is a “very, very dangerous (and) very threatening” crisis that requires more than $1 billion in aid in 2022 to support the people affected by the decade-long conflict, the UN humanitarian organization said. said chef Martin Griffiths.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Griffiths, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, urged the world not to forget the continued devastation caused by Boko Haram and its offshoot, the Islamic State province. of West Africa, together accused of killing tens of thousands of people and displacing millions.

“This is a very different type of operation and also very difficult to deter…a grave, clear and present danger, obviously, to the population and a priority for the government,” Griffiths said in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. “The world must remember that this is a tragedy that must be resolved.”

Boko Haram, Nigeria’s Islamic extremist rebels, launched an insurgency in the northeast of the country in 2009, to fight against Western education and to establish Islamic Sharia in Nigeria. Their rebellion has spread over the years to neighboring West African countries of Cameroon, Niger and Chad. Boko Haram was condemned by the international community in 2014 when it abducted 276 schoolgirls from the village of Chibok, sparking the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. More than 100 of these abducted students are still missing.

The Nigerian military continues to try to quell the violence, particularly in northeastern Borno State and the Lake Chad region, but the conflict continues year after year.

The faction allied with the Islamic State group released a video this week showing dozens of child fighters training in open fields and learning in classrooms. The video is a “clear” message that extremists “are here to stay” and “a new generation is coming”, according to Vincent Foucher of the International Crisis Group.

The Nigerian security forces have also boosted their air capability “which means it’s hard for (the Islamic State branch) to get away with the big attacks they carried out two or three years ago. years,” Foucher added.

The UN humanitarian chief said it was unclear when displaced populations will be able to return home, although it is a crucial goal for people to have hope “that this will not happen.” may not be an indefinite exile from their villages”.

For 2022, the UN estimates that northeast Nigeria will need more than $1 billion in development assistance in addition to government spending, he said. The funds are needed to provide food and health care to the millions of displaced people and those who stay at home but are vulnerable to attack. Nigerian officials “understand that this is not a magic bullet,” Griffiths said after meetings with government officials.

Beyond the northeast, northwest and central Nigeria are under heavy attack by armed groups who traditionally worked as nomadic cattle herders and are caught up in a decades-long conflict with Hausa farming communities over the access to water and pasture.

Nigeria’s fight against extremists “cannot be won on the battlefield”, said the UN official, who called for more community development efforts.

“You win civil wars in the minds of the people who live there,” Griffiths said. “If you don’t have communities on your side, it doesn’t matter how many others you have on your side. You won’t make peace.

Nigerian extremists are still ‘very dangerous’, says UN official

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