Nigeria: Boko Haram Destroys Infrastructure, Forces Highway Closure

Maiduguri — The attack on electricity lines and attempts to force the closure of a local highway are a devious campaign by the Boko Haram to cut off from the rest of Nigeria, the state worst affected by terrorism.

Boko Haram, the Islamist sect is behind the spate of attacks that have left some areas in Borno State without power.

The single safe highway in the region, the Kano-Maiduguri freeway (Golden Gate), is experiencing a rise in deadly attacks which analysts believe would eventually lead to the road's closure.

Boko Haram recently killed 11 soldiers and four civilians in five separate attacks on the highway. Radicals kidnapped more than 30 people in January, killed about 30 others and took away three buses carrying mostly women and children.

Escalating violence has led to partial shutdown, with the military closing the highway by 3pm (15:00hrs) daily, stalling the inflow of goods and services.

The Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) reported that villagers living along the highway were being evacuated.

The organisation noted humanitarian access was likely to be affected as most aid offices were in Damaturu in neighbouring Yobe State.

Maiduguri will become accessible only by air if the Golden Gate is completely shut.

"This is not affordable for about 90 percent of the population of the city," an ACAPS spokesperson stated.

"Humanitarian access and logistics may have to be negotiated using flights from Damaturu to Maiduguri."

Borno, with a population of some 6 million people and the second-biggest state in Nigeria by size, is a target by the Boko Haram to establish an Islamic state.

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