Hunger fears in north-east Nigeria as roaming elephants trample crops

The situation of the elephants here is very terrible, they are really destroying our farmlands
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Fears of hunger are increasing in north-east Nigeria, as hundreds of elephants threaten crops--and where the Islamist insurgency of Boko Haram is causing severe suffering.

A herd of hundreds of elephants that have returned to north-east Nigeria are under threat from jihadist groups and increasingly in conflict with thousands of refugees whose crops they have trampled weeks before harvest.

More than 250 elephants ventured last month from Chad and Cameroon into Kala-Balge, a district in Nigeria’s Borno state.

The presence of numerous village populations in Borno had for years deterred the elephants, who are usually wary of human settlements. But more than a decade of Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency in north-east Nigeria has forced many villagers in Kala-Balge and across the region to flee to refugee camps or urban centres, leaving much of the rural expanse emptied and more appealing to the elephants.

A population of about 8,000 internally displaced people remains in Kala-Balge, mostly residing in camps, and there are growing concerns over hunger.

Babagana Shettima, a community leader in Kala-Balge, said the presence of the elephants has compounded misery in the district.

“The situation of the elephants here is very terrible, they are really destroying our farmlands,” he said. “People here are already suffering, they are living in the camps or in the bush, they have to farm to eat and this is the only source for their food. If the elephants destroy it, they will not have any food to eat.”

Read rest of story here.

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