Nigeria shuts down cattle market

MAIDUGURI. — A Nigerian government push to strangle the Boko Haram insurgency has shut down the cattle trade that sustained the city of Maiduguri, leaving many residents with no livelihood, including many of the two million people displaced by the war.

In recent months the army has taken back much of the territory lost to the jihadists during the five-year insurgency.

But the war, which killed thousands of people, is still taking its toll in the northeast, despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s vow to crush Boko Haram by the end of last year. The group, now officially allied to the Islamic State fighters who control much of Iraq and Syria, has responded with suicide bombings and hit and run attacks against civilians.

In the latest shock to civilians, meat has become scarce as the army has closed cattle markets to stop Boko Haram from raising funds by selling livestock, officials say. The shut-down of the Maiduguri cattle market — one of the biggest in West Africa — has, overnight, made hundreds of cattle traders, herdsmen, butchers and laborers unemployed.

“We are suffering,” said Usama Malla, a cattle herdsman who lost his job. While he spoke, an angry crowd quickly gathered to criticise the government. “We want compensation,” others demanded. — Reuters.

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