Nigerians flee across border as military strikes against insurgents

May 20, 2013 at 10:31 AM

ABUJA, Nigeria, May 20 (UPI) -- Thousands of people have fled into the Niger Republic from towns near the northern Nigerian border amidst a military operation to rout insurgents from the area.

Some 2,000 to 3,000 people from the Nigerian states of Borno and Yobe have taken refuge in the Niger town of Bosso, the Nigerian newspaper Daily Trust reported Monday.

Mamadou Fode Camara, governor of Diffa State in Niger, said he had sent a delegation and relief workers to Bosso to determine the needs of the refugees.

In Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, a 24-hour curfew was imposed Saturday. Military forces have been conducting a house-by-house search in the city for Boko Haram militants.

Residents have complained the curfew is causing them to run out of water, food and medicine because markets have been closed and water suppliers are unable to operate.

Three Nigerian troops and 14 insurgents were killed in weekend air raids on a game reserve where insurgents had set up camp, said Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade, a spokesman for the Defense Headquarters. Seven other soldiers were injured and 20 insurgents were arrested.

He said insurgents who have abandoned their camps were retreating "in disarray."

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