ANKARA

Thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were left without shelter after a fire swept through a refugee camp in Nigeria’s northeastern city of Maiduguri, the UN Refugee Agency said on Friday.

The fire broke out on the eve of the Muslim festival of Eid-al-Fitr at the makeshift camp that hosts about 40,000 IDPs in Maiduguri, according to a statement.

”It began after sparks from a cooking fireplace spread out and ignited a fire which soon engulfed shelters all around the camp. Houses were razed to the ground and damaged other facilities,” it added.

The agency said they are working with all humanitarian partners to assist the refugees left without shelter and who lost all their belongings. ”The majority of those affected people were women.”

Some 2.5 million people are displaced across the Lake Chad region, including some 1.8 million inside Nigeria and the rest in Cameroon and Chad.

With the ongoing violence, thousands of people have to run for their lives each day. ”Young girls, old women and aid workers continue to bear the brunt of this escalating violence,” UNHCR said.

Since the early 2010s, Boko Haram has wielded power and influence in northeastern Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.

For the past three years, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), a splinter of Boko Haram, has been growing in power and influence in north-eastern Nigeria.

It has notched military successes and made inroads among civilians by treating them better than its parent organization and by filling gaps in governance and service delivery, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG).

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