Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Another burden

Nigeria may be the richest country in Africa, but it hardly seems capable of dealing with its challenges.

A famine unlike any we have ever seen
They survived Boko Haram. Now many of them are on the brink of starvation.

Across the northeastern corner of this country, more than 3 million people displaced and isolated by the militants are facing one of the world’s biggest humanitarian disasters. Every day, more children are dying because there isn’t enough food. Curable illnesses are killing others. Even polio has returned…

The staggering hunger crisis created by the insurgents has been largely hidden from view, partly because it has been extremely dangerous for aid groups and journalists to visit the area…

In 2014, after years of guerrilla attacks, Boko Haram fighters swept across Borno… Less well-known was the insurgents’ destruction of the agricultural output of Borno, a Belgium-size state that was once a breadbasket for the region.

The Nigerian military, working with the armies of neighboring countries, launched an offensive in 2015 that reclaimed major cities across Borno. But Boko Haram fighters still moved freely throughout much of the vast countryside. Often, humanitarian workers say, it was too dangerous to send food to those areas…
Refugee camp near Monguno, Nigeria

The Nigerian military has formulated its own strategy to end the war: starve the enemy. It is now blocking all food, including from regional markets, from entering parts of Borno where Boko Haram might be lurking.

That has contributed to the possibility that hundreds of thousands of civilians held or isolated by insurgents could starve alongside fighters…

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