“North-east Nigeria has been hit by a displacement crisis that dwarfs any migration flows seen in Europe in recent years,” reports The Guardian.
The small town of Monguno in Borno state, which has a population of 60,000, is sheltering 140,000 Nigerians who have fled their homes – comparable to the number who have left North Africa for Europe so far this year.
“Since the Boko Haram insurgency began, more people have migrated to Monguno alone than left all of North Africa for Europe in the first nine months of this year,” writes The Guardian’s Patrick Kingsley.
“About 40% more people have been displaced throughout Borno state (1.4 million) than reached Europe by boat in 2015 (1 million). Across the region, the war against Boko Haram has forced more people from their homes – 2.6 million – than there are Syrians in Turkey, the country that hosts more refugees than any other.
“The comparisons mirror a wider trend across Africa. Of the world’s 17 million displaced Africans, 93.7% remain inside the continent, and just 3.3% have reached Europe.”
“No matter how many problems Europeans have, it’s nothing like this,” Modu Amsami, the informal leader of Monguno’s nine IDP camps, told The Guardian. “Please, I’m appealing to Europeans to forget their minor problems. Let them come here and face our major problems.”
Boko Haram has specifically targeted Christians, most notably in its abduction and forced conversion of 276 mainly Christian schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in 2014, but in its desire to install an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria the group has also attacked buildings linked to the police and the UN.