World Bulletin / News Desk
At least 1,000 people have died in the first three months of 2014 in the Boko Haram insurgency plaguing Nigeria's three northern states, according to the country's main emergency relief body.
"The report, compiled by our team of experts and field workers across the three states, shows that more than 1,000 people have been killed between January and March this year alone," Abdulkadir Ibrahim, the spokesman for the National Emergency Agency (NEMA), told Anadolu Agency.
The deaths occurred in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe - the three states that have been the worst hit in the bloodletting blamed on the Boko Haram insurgents.
"One in five of the total population is not living in their own homes," concluded the report.
It asserted that 244,000 people are currently living with friends or relatives while more than 5,000 are sheltering in camps.
The emergency relief body said that in total some 3.2 million people were affected by the crisis, most of them women, children and older people.
It called for immediate assistance for 1.5 million people who are in "urgent and significant" need of food, water and healthcare facilities.
NEMA's figures dwarfed those earlier given by U.N. relief agencies and the Red Cross - both giving less than 700 casualties.
Military and political officials continue to claim that Boko Haram insurgents are at their wits' end, having been flushed out of cities and increasingly denied exit routes to the outside world.
But the militants have been scaling up their deadly attacks in recent weeks.
Only on Tuesday, they killed 10 people in a suicide bombing in Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno.
A hitherto peaceful organization that had preached against government corruption, Boko Haram suddenly turned violent in 2009 following the murder of its leader, Mohamed Yusuf, while in police custody.
In the years since, the group has been blamed for thousands of terrorist acts, including attacks on churches and security posts across Nigeria's northern region.
Although it claims to want an Islamist government in the region, Nigerian Muslims – most of whom reject Boko Haram as un-Islamic – have also been targeted by the militant group.Last Mod: 27 Mart 2014, 10:02