No fewer than 14 people have been burnt to death at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp in Borno State, POLITICS NIGERIA reports.
The blaze broke out mid-morning in a camp holding some 70,000 people in the town of Gamboru, close to the border with Cameroon, the head of a government-backed militia told AFP.
“We recovered 14 burnt bodies from the gutted shelters and another 15 who sustained varying degrees of burns from the fire,” militia leader Umar Kachalla said.
More than 200 shelters were destroyed, rendering 1,250 people homeless, said a rescue official, who asked not to be named.
“The fire killed 14 people, six from the same family, and left 15 with injuries, seven of them critically,” said the official.
It was not clear what caused the fire but residents blamed it on arson after a suspected insurgent was arrested with a lighter in his pocket.
Thus sad incident is coming two days after 700 shelters were destroyed by fire in an Internally Displaced Persons camp at Mafa Local Government Area of Borno State.
The Secretary of the Council, Mohammed Lawan-Sheriff, made the disclosure in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Maiduguri.
Lawan-Sheriff said that dozens of households in the camp were displaced during the fire outbreak, which started about 11a.m. on Tuesday and lasted several hours.
He said the fire incident, which began from a tent, gutted other shelters because there was no immediate fire service response in the camp as of the time of the incident.
He said the combined efforts of the IDPs, Civilian Joint Task Force, security agencies and other Good Samaritans brought the situation under control.
“Immediately, we heard about the incident, we quickly mobilised the host community and rushed to the scene to put out the fire. So far, no death was recorded,” he said.
The secretary explained that the council and other partners were working to address the humanitarian situation at the camp.
“We have asked the 11 camp managers to assess the level of damage and do the headcount to ensure that everyone is safe, while an ambulance was placed on standby to evacuate any injured persons,” he said.
NAN reports that Mafa IDPs camp is housing 4,782 households, mostly women, children and the elderly.