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30,000 flee Boko Haram violence in Nigeria

By Clyde Hughes
30,000 flee Boko Haram violence in Nigeria
Children orphaned by Boko Haram last July line up at the Special Orphans Learning Center. Violence by the terrorist group has forced 30,000 to flee their homes in northeastern Nigeria this past weekend. Photo by STR/EPA-EFE

Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Some 30,000 Nigerian fled the city of Rann over the weekend into Cameroon after militant group Boko Haram ramped up violence, according to a United Nations agency Tuesday.

UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, said that it launched a regional refugee response plan after Boko Haram's insurgency forced people to flee the Lake Chad Basin region. The displacement has flooded already crowded refugee camps around towns in the Borno State of northeastern Nigeria.

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The agency said that Boko Haram has been targeting young girls, older women and workers in surging militant attacks against civilians that have already uprooted more than 250,000 from their homes. UNHCR has asked for $135 million to help people displaced by the insurgency.

UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said at a news briefing in Geneva that the violence has clogged humanitarian operations and forced aid workers to pull out from some locations. He added that the damage to infrastructure along with livelihoods has been widespread, CNN reported.

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Militant violence led to 15 deaths in four villages around Maiduguri in Borno State in November as insurgents reclaimed Baga, a village on the outskirts of Maiduguri. Hundreds there had fled their homes to escape Boko Haram's violence.

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Boko Haram's video execution last October of aid worker Hauwa Leman, 24, a nurse with the International Committee of the Red Cross, sparked International outrage.

Boko Haram, whose name translates in the local Hausa dialect as "Western education is forbidden," is affiliated with the Islamic State and has been called the "Nigerian Taliban" because of its religious similarities who to the group that once ran Afghanistan.

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Its militants mainly fight in the northern states of Nigeria, specifically Yobe, Kano, Bauchi, Borno and Kaduna.

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