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Nigerian refugees suffer as government fails to contain Boko Haram

October 27, 2014

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More than 80,000 Catholics have fled from their homes in northeast Nigeria because of terrorist attacks by Boko Haram, Bishop Oliver Doeme of Maiduguri told Aid to the Church in Need.

Bishop Doeme reported that refugees are living in caves and forests, facing the dangers of starvation and disease. “Given the political situation in the country, most of the funds earmarked for the victims of terrorism very seldom reach the actual people on the ground,” he said.

Church relief organizations are strained to the breaking point in their attempts to serve the needs of refugees, the bishop said: “We are in dire need of external assistance to help alleviate the difficult situation of the refugees, especially of the children who, out of school and vulnerable to diseases, face an uncertain future.”

The plight of civilians in the region is aggravated by the failure of government forces to protect the people from Boko Haram. Soldiers have reportedly fled in the face of the terrorists’ greater firepower, and encouraged civilians to do the same. “Here is a government that cannot safeguard the lives of its citizens,” Bishop Doeme commented.


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