“We have at the moment an estimated 90 000 displaced people from the Damaturu violence,” said Ibrahim Farinloye, northeast co-ordinator for the National Emergency Management Agency.
“Around 40 000 of this figure is from the Pompomari area, where the whole neighbourhood has been deserted. Some of the displaced have lost their homes, while others just fled for their security.”
Farinloye said “we advised the displaced against moving into any temporary camp for security reasons, therefore most of them are sheltering in the homes of friends and relatives in the city and neighbouring villages”.
Heavy violence broke out in Damaturu last week, with suspected members of Islamist group Boko Haram carrying out attacks followed by a heavy military crackdown. A rights group and police source said up to 100 people were feared dead.
Trucks and armoured vehicles carrying soldiers had arrived in the Pompomari neighbourhood and residents were given 30 minutes to leave. The neighbourhood was later cordoned off.
Further violence broke out in Damaturu on Christmas, when two explosions went off, including a suicide attack targeting a military convoy in front of a secret police building.
The Christmas bombs were among a wave of attacks in Nigeria the same day blamed on Boko Haram that killed 40 people, with the deadliest an explosion outside a church near the capital Abuja as services were ending.