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UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

  • Margaret Besheer

Government officials visit injured people from Tuesday's suicide bomb explosion, in a local hospital in Kano, Nigeria, Feb. 25, 2015.

Government officials visit injured people from Tuesday's suicide bomb explosion, in a local hospital in Kano, Nigeria, Feb. 25, 2015.

A senior U.N. humanitarian official says more than 7,300 civilians have been killed by Boko Haram militants since the beginning of 2014 in three Nigerian states under siege by the group. Deputy Humanitarian Chief Kyung-Wha Kang told the U.N. Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year.

Kang told the council that more than 300 schools have also been severely damaged or destroyed by the Islamist extremist group whose name translates as “Western education is a sin." She said since a state of emergency was declared in May, 2013, the on-going violence in north-eastern Nigeria and parts of Chad, Niger and Cameroon has displaced at least 1.5 million people and helping them has been a challenge.

“Humanitarian partners are ready to do more and scale up their efforts,” said Kang. "To do so, donor engagement and continued financial support are critical.”

U.N. West Africa Envoy Mohamed Ibn Chambas told the council, via a video link from the region, the offensive involving troops from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger has weakened Boko Haram, but the group remains a threat, especially in light of its recent announcement of loyalty to Islamic State.

“Boko Haram’s recent allegiance to the Islamic State for Iraq and the Levant, whether for publicity reasons or to tap into ISIL’s support, is also of concern, as it gives a clear signal that Boko Haram’s agenda goes well beyond Nigeria,” said Chambas.

Of Nigeria’s just held presidential elections, Chambas said the terrorists had been unable to disrupt the electoral process.

The U.N. Security Council is discussing a draft resolution to support the Multinational Joint Task Force of African troops battling Boko Haram. Council president, French Ambassador François Delattre told reporters “the military fight must continue” and that the draft resolution brought by the Council’s African members - Nigeria, Chad and Angola - still had a few points to be negotiated, including the financing mechanism for the task force.

“We consider that this resolution that is under negotiation would be a very important signal sent to the regional forces involved in the fight against this murderous terrorist group, that the whole international community supports their courageous efforts of these regional forces,” said Delattre.

He said the Council hopes to adopt the resolution very soon.

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