Hundreds of Nigerians who fled boko haram in northeast Borno State have returned to devastated towns and villages in recent days after the army seized back the militant group’s last remaining strongholds.
This is according to the United Nations, which also warns that families will return to find their homes and farmland destroyed, basic services wiped out and will live under the persistent threat of attacks by the jihadist group.
Spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, Mr. Leo Dobbs, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that healthcare, agriculture, and security services are in ruin after around two years of Boko Haram rule.
He adds that in the last week, buses organised by the Borno State government have begun transporting people from the capital, Maiduguri, to the newly accessible areas, with others are returning by their own means.
“Many of the areas they are going back to have been completely devastated,” said Dobbs.
The U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said last month nearly half a million children were at risk of ‘severe acute malnutrition’ in the area around Lake Chad that has been ravaged by Boko Haram.
Despite the Nigerian army’s success in driving Boko Haram out of occupied territory that 18 months ago was the size of Belgium, the militants still manage to stage regular suicide bombings in Nigeria and neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
Since 2009, more than 15,000 people have been killed, 2.3 million displaced due to Boko Haram activities in Nigeria.