The latest casualties of Boko Haram’s reign of jihadist terror are the nearly 200 refugees who have starved to death over the past month in Bama, Nigeria, with hundreds more—mostly children—suffering from acute malnutrition.
According to the medical charity Doctors without Borders (MSF), since May 23 at least 188 people have died in the Bama camp for displaced persons—almost six people per day – mainly from starvation and malnutrition.
A medical team from MSF visited the camp for several hours on Tuesday, and described what they found as a “catastrophic humanitarian emergency,” with the 24,000 displaced persons housed there at severe health risk due to the appalling conditions.
The team counted 1,233 cemetery graves outside the camp, all of which had been dug during the past year. Of those graves, 480 were for children, and new graves are appearing on a daily basis.
The medical mission also found that many inhabitants are traumatized and one in five children is suffering from acute malnutrition.
A week ago, Nigerian authorities and a local NGO oversaw the evacuation of 1,192 people requiring medical care from the Bama area to the city of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State.
MSF medical teams screened 466 children and found that 66 percent were emaciated, and 39 percent had a severe form of malnutrition. Of these children, 78 had to be hospitalized immediately in the MSF feeding center.
Since its founding seven years ago, the radical Islamist terror group Boko Haram has been responsible for the deaths of at least 20,000 people, with more than two million displaced.
Despite a large-scale offensive against them by Nigerian military as well as a regional coalition, Boko Haram continues to terrorize villages in the north-east of the country, leaving destruction and death in its wake.
“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,” Hatim said.
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