90,000 displaced in Nigerian city hit by violence

Deadly clashes between Islamists and security forces last week have displaced 90,000 people in Damaturu.

Last Updated: Dec 28, 2011, 22:47 PM IST

Kano (Nigeria): Deadly clashes between Islamists and security forces last week have displaced an estimated 90,000 people in the northeastern Nigerian city of
Damaturu, an emergency official said on Wednesday.

"We have at the moment an estimated 90,000 displaced
people from the Damaturu violence," said Ibrahim Farinloye,
northeast coordinator for the National Emergency Management
Agency.

"Around 40,000 of this figure is from the Pompomari area,
where the whole neighborhood has been deserted. Some of the
displaced have lost their homes, while others just fled for
their security."

Farinloye said "we advised the displaced against moving
into any temporary camp for security reasons, therefore most
of them are sheltering in the homes of friends and relatives
in the city and neighbouring villages."

Heavy violence broke out in Damaturu last week, with
suspected members of Islamist group Boko Haram carrying out
attacks followed by a military crackdown. A rights group and
police source said up to 100 people were feared dead.

Trucks and armoured vehicles carrying soldiers had
arrived in the Pompomari neighbourhood and residents were
given 30 minutes to leave. The neighbourhood was later
cordoned off.

Further violence broke out in Damaturu on Christmas, when
two explosions went off, including a suicide attack targeting
a military convoy in front of a secret police building.

The Christmas bombs were among a wave of attacks in
Nigeria the same day blamed on Boko Haram that killed 40
people, with the deadliest an explosion outside a church near
the capital Abuja as services were ending.

Nigeria`s northeast has long been rocked by violence
blamed on Boko Haram, but attacks are intensifying and growing
more deadly. The bombs that targeted churches on Christmas
have also sparked fears of renewed sectarian clashes.

Nigerian leaders have sought to calm tensions since the
attacks, urging Christians not to retaliate.

The country, Africa`s most populous nation and its
largest oil producer with 160 million people, is roughly
divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominately
Christian south.

PTI