Nigeria plans for return of Boko Haram displaced

2015-12-12 15:46
Boko Haram fighters. (File, AP)

Boko Haram fighters. (File, AP)

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Abuja - Nigeria expects many of the 2.1 million people internally displaced by Boko Haram's insurgency to return home in the coming year, amid claims the Islamists are in disarray and a spent force.

President Muhammadu Buhari said the return would begin "in earnest" in 2016 and his government "will do all within its powers to facilitate the quick return and resettlement" of IDPs.

Fighting capacity

Military commanders and the government believe they are on track to meet a year-end deadline to curb the group's fighting capacity, despite continued suicide and bomb attacks targeting civilians.

Abuja is, however, appealing for help, with homes and businesses destroyed by six years of fighting and infrastructure, from clean water and electricity to health clinics and schools, severely hit.

Information minister Lai Mohammed said after a recent visit to Bama, in northeastern Borno state, that he was "astounded at the level of destruction and devastation.

"Not a single building was unaffected by the activities of the terrorists and no building is being occupied by its original resident," he said earlier.

Nearby villages

AFP visited Bama with the Nigerian military in March after it was recaptured by troops. Corrugated iron roofs lay ripped off among charred debris and houses were blackened with soot or in ruins.

Decomposing bodies could be seen around the town, 71km southeast of the state capital, Maiduguri.

Babagana Umara, commissioner of the newly established Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement in Borno, said the violence had left 17 local government areas completely deserted.

As well as Bama and Konduga, reconstruction has also begun in Benisheik, west of Maiduguri, and nearby villages, as well as in Mafa and Gwoza, where Boko Haram proclaimed a caliphate last year.

Read more on:    boko haram  |  nigeria  |  west africa

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