For the first time in over one decade of brutal Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast, a herd of about 250 elephants has been sighted in Borno – the epicentre of the Jihadist insurgency.
The elephants were sighted around the borders with Cameroon and Chad.
Reacting to the development, excited Borno State government on Friday said the sighting of the elephant was a sign that peace was gradually returning to the area that had been ravaged by Boko Haram insurgency.
According to a report in Radio France Internationale the herd of elephants was sighted a few kilometres from Rann during a humanitarian mission carried out by helicopter.
Quoting Co-founder of Africa Nature Investors, Tunde Marakinyo, Radio France Internationale said “the sighting of this herd means Nigeria’s elephant population has effectively doubled.”
Prior to the outbreak of Boko Haram insurgency that had claimed over 20,000 lives and displaced over two million people, hundreds of elephants used to migrate through the region.
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The capture of Sambisa Forest – a large swathes of land designated as a game reserve – by the insurgents at the peak of the war drove the elephants away from that route.
“Three major migration routes passed through the Sambisa Forest.
“These same routes that follow water sources are used by insurgents to escape military bombardment.
“The heavy exchange of artillery fire between the military and the insurgents drove most of the big game away from the reserve.
“There has also been intense fighting and aerial bombardments on the shores of Lake Chad for much of the past decade.
“Elephants had formerly been frequent visitors to the lake,” the rfi report noted.