At least 2,000 people were initially said to have been moved the 40km from Jakana to the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, on Tuesday. But the UN said five times as many were forced to flee.
“The military ordered the immediate departure and forced the relocation of up to 10,000 civilians in the middle of the night, without prior warning,” it said in a statement.
“The entire town of Jakana was emptied, and people were forced to move to Maiduguri with very little time to collect personal belongings,” added UN Humanitarian Coordinator Edward Kallon. “Some people said they arrived in Maiduguri with nothing, not even with shoes on their feet.”
The northeast is the battleground in Nigeria’s decade-long fight against the armed group of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram.
A surge in attacks in December in which towns and military bases were overrun saw tens of thousands of civilians fleeing into Maiduguri and swelling the population of existing camps.