The UN has expressed concern over the impact ongoing violence in north-east Nigeria - where clashes between government forces and Boko Haram fighters has displaced tens of thousands in recent week - is having on civilians.

Speaking after visiting camps for displaced people in the Borno state capital of Maiduguri, Edward Kallon, UN humanitarian coordinator, described the impact of recent violence - including fighting in Baga town on 26th December and an attempted attack on Monguno on 28th December - as "devastating", saying it had created a "humanitarian tragedy".

“It is heart-wrenching to see so many of these people living in congested camps, or sleeping outside with no shelter,” he said. “The United Nations is extremely concerned about the impact that violence in north-east Nigeria, especially in Borno State, is having on civilians."

Some 30,000 internally displaced people have arrived in Maiduguri in recent weeks, mainly from the town of Bagu, and unknown number of people are taking refuge in Monguno.

The situation has been exacerbated by the withdrawal of some 260 aid workers in the region in November in what the UN called “the largest withdrawal of aid workers since the international humanitarian response scaled up in 2016" due to security concerns. 

The ongoing insurgency involving Boko Haram has been blamed for as many as 20,000 deaths and thousands of abductions.