Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians fleeing Islamist militants are searching for sanctuary, say government and international relief officials, the latest fallout from Boko Haram's campaign to seize the northeast of Africa's most populous country.
....Boko Haram has made the surrounding Borno state the epicenter of its insurrection against Nigerian soldiers, Christians and—increasingly—civilians
who stand in its way.
"They are streaming over the hillsides," said Borno state Governor Kashim Shettima of the civilians who are trying to escape the violence. Mr. Shettima said Nigerian officials and multinational agencies are sheltering 40,000 people in schools that had already closed because the insurgency had made them unsafe for students. In the past year, up to a million people have fled to the state capital of Maiduguri,
he said, lodging with relatives and in tents at the city's limits.
The forced migration from Nigeria's violence is expected to strain everything from public services to food security, as a weak central government struggles to beat back the emboldened Islamist insurgency.
Boko Haram aims to impose Islamic law and has been targeting vigilante militias and the military that stand in its way. Insurgents have killed nearly 3,000 people this year, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. The turmoil has spilled across Nigeria's porous border with Cameroon, where about half of the 10,000 residents of the town of Kolofata have fled since a suspected Boko Haram raid there two weeks ago.
Manzo Ezekiel, a spokesman for Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency, estimated that 3 million Nigerians are facing "serious humanitarian challenges" because a breadwinner has been killed in the turmoil or they are too scared to plant the crops
they will need to survive through the dry season.
At the same time,the number of farmers fleeing their land poses a threat to the country's food supply,
say aid workers. "There's palpable fear that there may be food scarcity in the region yet this year," said Nwakpa Nwakpa, a spokesman for the Red Cross in Nigeria.
But the army has shown little sign that it is capable of turning the tide as northeastern Nigeria has slipped deeper into lawlessness
. Despite a global campaign drawing attention to more than 200 schoolgirls the militants abducted in April, the military has struggled to make much public progress toward their release.