Thousands of residents have fled their village in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, fearing renewed attacks by Boko Haram after a recent raid by the jihadists, residents told AFP Tuesday.
Thousands of residents of Molai village, five kilometres outside Maiduguri– the Borno capital– have poured into the city following a raid by Boko Haram militants last week in which six people were killed and dozens of homes were burnt.
“Most of the people have fled into Maiduguri and the few of us that remain are preparing to join them,” local chief Abba Karemi said via telephone on Tuesday.
“It is no longer safe to remain in Molai because Boko Haram attack and kill at will Karemi said, adding that the village had been attacked four times in the last two years.
Many of the 9,000 people resident in Mosai have fled, taking shelter in displaced camps in the city, with others lodging or renting around the city.
On May 7 fighters in trucks and gunmen on motorbikes stormed into Molai just before sunset when villagers were preparing to pray and break their fast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The jihadists from a faction loyal to Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau, killed six people and burned dozens of homes after battling troops stationed in the village.
“We know they will come back and the soldiers cannot stop them,” Karemi said.
The presence of troops on the outskirts of the village has not reassured residents, said another resident Adamu Suleiman.
“They (Boko Haram) attack, kill people and leave. The soldiers can’t stop them,” Suleiman said.
“When the insurgents strike we end up fleeing along with the soldiers”, said Suleiman, who was among the few dozen people remaining in the village.
The exodus of villagers into camps in Maiduguri could worsen the already strained humanitarian crisis in camps.
Close to one million displaced people have ten refuge in Maiduguri with tens of thousands living in poorly kept displacement camps in the city, reliant on inadequate food handouts from aid agencies.
Crowded aid camps struggle with inadequate water, whilst poor access to toilet facilities and poor sanitation often result in periodic outbreaks of cholera.
Acoss northeast Nigeria, 1.8 million people remain displaced.
Boko Haram has in recent weeks stepped up attacks on military and civilian targets, raiding bases and villages.
At least 27,000 people have been in killed in Nigeria alone from Boko Haram’s almost 10-year insurgency.