Inhabitants flee Nigerian city for violence fears

Inhabitants of a Nigerian northeastern city where Islamic radicals killed 150 people have started relocating to neighboring towns.

Last Updated: Nov 09, 2011, 00:18 AM IST

Abuja: Inhabitants of a Nigerian northeastern
city where Islamic radicals killed 150 people in strings of
suicide attacks and shootings over the weekend, have started
relocating to neighboring towns, amid fears of renewed
attacks or confrontations between the military and militants.
Eyewitnesses in Damaturu said there is no police presence
in the town, prompting non-residents and members of the
Christian community to move out with their families.

Businesses are closing down with their owners, especially
people from the south-east, forced to make an early journey
home for the Christmas celebration during which they may take
a decision not to return to the northeastern part of the
country again.

Meanwhile, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has
described the attacks in northeastern Nigeria?s state of Yobe
which resulted in the highest death toll in a single day as an
indefensible attack on human life.

HRW in a statement noted that since the beginning of
2011, Boko Haram has been implicated in attacks that have
killed more than 425 people, including police officers,
soldiers, community leaders, politicians, Islamic clerics,
Christian pastors, and church members.
"Boko Haram has once again demonstrated its utter
disregard for human life," said Corinne Dufka, senior West
Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.

"The authorities should act swiftly to bring to justice
those responsible for these terrible crimes and for earlier
attacks that left hundreds dead."

The oil rich African country?s President Goodluck
Jonathan has vowed to bring the culprits to book even as
military has commenced hunt for members of the sect.

"The government wants to advise members of the public
that it will continue to ensure security of lives and property
under its jurisdiction," National Security Adviser Andrew
Azazi said, criticizing a warning issued by the United States
urging its citizens to avoid major hotels in the country?s
capital, Abuja.

The Boko Haram sect has been responsible for a number of
sectarian attacks in the recent past in northern Nigeria,
posing a big challenge to the nation`s security agencies.

The group was also behind the bombing of United
Nations` headquarters in the capital on August 26 which killed
23 people and injured over 70.

PTI