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Boko Haram debuted on the Nigerian stage in 2002 and has been calling for an end to secular-based law, to be replaced with Islamic Sharia law. It has been fighting government forces and raiding villages ever since, particularly in the country’s north east.
Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) says that at least 1,000 people have killed in only three northeastern states since the beginning of the year.
“The human toll: more than 1,000 people dead and 249, 446 displaced between January to March 2014. One in five of the total population [is] not living in their own homes,” it said in a statement.
The uptick in Boko Haram attacks in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, appears to come in response to a Nigerian military operation, which began last summer, to uproot the hard-line Islamist group, and a declaration of a state of emergency by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Last month, Nigeria’s Northern States Governors Forum called on the government to do more to curb violence after fresh fighting between suspected Boko Haram militia and villagers left over 18 dead and hundreds injured in Borno.
NEMA also urged the government on Thursday to provide urgent humanitarian aid to about two million people who have been affected by the fighting.
Meanwhile, global energy markets are speculating that oil supplies from Nigeria may be disrupted following the sabotage of a Shell Nigeria pipeline earlier this month.