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Boko Haram mars future of thousands in Niger

09 June 2016, 09:39Okoro Chinedu

Lagos – Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes in south-east Niger following near back-to-back attacks by Boko Haram insurgents  in the troubled Diffa region, the United Nations refugee agency said.

The sect has carried the attacks since last Friday.

Adrian Edwards, Spokesperson of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said UNHCR is working with authorities and partners on a coordinated response to the displacement, and that an emergency team will be deployed to the Diffa region this week.

The most recent attacks follow rising violence in and around Bosso in recent weeks. An assault on 31 May in the nearby town of Yebi that killed nine people forced an estimated 15 000 residents and displaced people to seek shelter in Bosso.

Many had been evacuated a year ago from islands in Lake Chad for security reasons, the spokesperson noted.

Also read: Delta Avengers could spill bigger crisis than Boko Haram

An estimated 50 000 people fled Friday’s attack, mainly walking westward to Toumour, some 30 kilometres west of Bosso. Many people are traumatized and worried about their safety, and some are sleeping in the open and urgently need shelter and other assistance.

Some of the displaced have moved on from Toumour and are heading to the town of Diffa, which is located 140 kilometres west of Bosso, and northward towards Kabelawa, where a camp for the internally displaced is near capacity with some 10 000 people.

“The welfare of these people and others forced to flee the violence in Bosso is of great concern.” Edwards said.

“Insecurity and lack of access have long hampered humanitarian operations in parts of the Diffa region, though Bosso is the only area where we do not implement projects directly,” he added.

There are at least 240 000 displaced people in Diffa region, including Nigerian refugees, returnees and the internally displaced.

Before the latest attack on Bosso, one in every three inhabitants of the Diffa region was forcibly displaced. 

- CAJ News


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