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Boko Haram: Scores of refugees starved to death - MSF

MSF's visit to the camp was only possible with an army escort
MSF's visit to the camp was only possible with an army escort

Nearly 200 refugees fleeing Boko Haram militants have starved to death over the past month in Bama, Nigeria, the medical charity MSF says.

A "catastrophic humanitarian emergency" is unfolding at a camp it visited where 24,000 people have taken refuge.

Many inhabitants are traumatized and one in five children is suffering from acute malnutrition, MSF says. The Islamist group's seven-year rebellion has left 20,000 people dead and more than two million displaced.

Nigeria's military has carried out a large-scale offensive against them but Boko Haram still attacks villages in the north-east, destroying homes and burning down wells.

Displaced people in Bama say new graves are appearing on a daily basis, according to a statement from MSF.

Itt quoted inhabitants as saying about 30 people died every day due to hunger or illness.Although the area has been unsafe to travel through, MSF says one of its teams reached Bama on Tuesday, It went in with a military convoy from the city of Maiduguri in Borno state.

"This is the first time MSF has been able to access Bama, but we already know the needs of the people there are beyond critical," said Ghada Hatim, MSF head of mission in Nigeria.

"We are treating malnourished children in medical facilities in Maiduguri and see the trauma on the faces of our patients who have witnessed and survived many horrors," he said.

Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language, was founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education,  launched  its military operations in 2009.

Since it has killed thousands, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, hundreds abducted, including at least 200 schoolgirls. Boko Haram joined a so-called Islamic State, now calls itself IS's "West African province"


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