UN: Years-long conflict in NE Nigeria killed 324,000 children under five
A report released by the United Nations on Thursday says a 12-year-old conflict in northeast Nigeria has caused the deaths of some 324,000 children under five.
Previous data showed that Boko Haram terrorists, who launched an insurgency in 2009 that has since spread to neighboring countries, have killed more than 40,000 people and displaced over two million from their homes.
But in a new report titled "Assessing the impact of conflict on development in northeast Nigeria," the UN Development Program said "the full human cost of war is much greater."
"We estimate that more than 90 percent of conflict-attributable deaths through 2020, about 324,000, are of children younger than five," it said.
Of nearly 350,000 deaths, it estimated 314,000 to have resulted from indirect causes.
Insecurity has led to declines in agricultural production and trade, reducing access to food and threatening the many households that depend on agriculture for their livelihood, the report added.
Thousands of displaced people lack access to food, health facilities, shelter and clean water, with children more vulnerable, the UN report said.
"With another decade of conflict, that could grow to more than 1.1 million," it said.
Despite ongoing military operations, the groups have continued to launch attacks, spreading violence to parts of neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
In the Lake Chad region, the UN said "over 3.2 million individuals are displaced, with 5.3 million food-insecure people at crisis and emergency levels."
The situation is worse in Nigeria's northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, it said.