North-East Nigeria’s 12-year conflict has caused about 350,000 deaths, majority being children below five, the United Nations has said.
The death toll is 10 times higher than any previous estimates of approximately 35,000 based only on those killed during fightings in Nigeria. The data was commissioned by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in a fresh study on the war and its effect on livelihoods published on Thursday.
In 2009, armed group Boko Haram started an uprising thus displacing over two million from their homesteads causing the largest humanitarian crisis. Millions depended on humanitarian aid.The UNDP said that children below five years account for 324,000 deaths, with nine out of 10 of those murdered and 170 dying on the daily. Of the total deaths, some 314,000 have been caused by indirect causes.
The UN said that high insecurity has caused a drop in agricultural production and trade, shrinking the accessibility of food thus leaving many households dependent on agriculture for livelihood in jeopardy. Currently, thousands of those displaced cannot access food, health facilities, shelter and clean water. The report says that children are more vulnerable. “With another decade of conflict, that could grow to more than 1.1 million,” it said.
In 2016, Nigeria’s Boko Haram group divided into two with its rival ISIL (ISIS)-allied faction ISWAP becoming a more dominant threat. Even with military operations, the groups have continually executed attacks moving violence into areas of Cameroon, Chad and Niger.