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.
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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