Nigeria's military has closed one of the biggest cattle markets in Africa, charging sales of looted animals is helping finance Boko Haram's Islamic insurgency, throwing thousands of people out of work, producing a meat shortage and killing thousands of animals, according to herders, dealers and residents.

The three-week-old closure of the market in Maiduguri, the main city in northeast Nigeria, is piling on tensions and economic strain in a city overrun by refugees from the rebellion, and is increasing animosity toward the military, according to many people interviewed by the AP.

In an unnecessary waste, some 20,000 cattle and goats locked into the main abattoir are dying from lack of water and food in the sealed facility, according to an official of the Livestock Traders' Union.