ICC Note: As the West African task force continues to push the Islamic group Boko Haram back, the actions brought on by the terrorist organization has already left a scar on region. More than 2.5 million people have been uprooted by the insurgency since May of 2013. As those who have been affected by Boko Haram, including many Christian families, determine how to pick up the pieces the risk of making the dangerous trek to Europe is very fresh in their minds. As a result, the current figures of African migrants reaching Europe could swell to unprecedented levels. Throughout this situation those most affected are the women and children who face rape, kidnapping, and murder. Among those are a large population of Christians who have been displaced by the actions of Boko Haram who consistently target religious minorities.
11/11/2015 Dakar (All Africa) — Boko Haram violence in the drought and flood-stricken swamplands of Lake Chad, which has destroyed livelihoods, torn communities apart and forced millions to flee their homes, could worsen Europe’s migration crisis, a United Nations official has warned.
A regional offensive by Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon earlier this year drove the militant group from much of the territory it held in northern Nigeria, undermining its six-year campaign to carve out an Islamist caliphate.
But the militants have since struck back with a renewed wave of deadly raids and suicide bombings, prompting Chad to declare on Monday a state of emergency in the Lake Chad region – giving authorities new powers to search and monitor residents.
More than 2.5 million people have been uprooted by conflict in the four countries since May 2013, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
The plight of African migrants struggling to reach Europe has stirred international alarm, and the vast number of people displaced could fuel migration across the Mediterranean, said Toby Lanzer, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel.
“There is every chance that some of these people will seek refuge further afield,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The combination of abject poverty, environmental degradation and lack of opportunities for young people could also fuel further violence and insecurity in the region, Lanzer said on Monday.
“Given the vast numbers of youths in the Lake Chad Basin… the ground is ripe for extremist groups to go in and recruit.”
Lanzer spoke ahead of an EU-Africa summit on migration on Wednesday in Malta, where the European Union is set to announce a 1.8 billion euro ($1.94 billion) trust fund to tackle the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement in Africa.
“Migration will become far more serious if we don’t address underlying causes of poverty, climate change and violence,” Lanzer said.