Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Boko Haram refugees feel 'abandoned' by the world

23 May 2016, 06:28

Assaga - "Take us away from this hell," said Boussam, a mother of seven cradling skeletal goats in Niger's Assaga camp, where thousands of desperate refugees fleeing Boko Haram Islamist insurgents are living in hunger.

She spoke to AFP in the south eastern camp near the border with Nigeria where about 6 000 people are crammed in UN tents in baking sun after being displaced by the violence.

The size of the camp has swollen quickly since people began to arrive from mid-2015, having fled attacks that have engulfed the region as Boko Haram seeks to carve out a hardline Islamist state in the north east of neighbouring Nigeria.

Conditions in the camp have deteriorated in recent months as food aid has struggled to reach its occupants who live with just basic medical care and schooling.

The UN emergency relief co-ordinator Stephen O'Brien, who visited the camp this week, warned that the raging conflict has "catastrophically exacerbated" the vulnerability of the region's refugees, displacing people already dogged by chronic food insecurity.

Anger is rising in the camp that more is not being done to help them.

"I think that everyone has abandoned us," said Ibrahim, a refugee in his 50s.

Niger's humanitarian affairs minister Lawan Magadji, who accompanied O'Brien on his visit to the region, accepts that not enough aid has reached the camp.

"There is not enough food. Distribution operations are based on the neediest households," he said.

The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has blamed a lack of funds for the shortages.

'I am ashamed'

Of the $316mb needed to finance humanitarian efforts in Niger just under a quarter has been raised, according to the agency.

O'Brien has promised to raise funds at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, starting May 23.

And despite receiving a warm welcome from children in the camp, O'Brien and the UN have not yet eased the daily grind of life in Assaga.

"I am ashamed not to be able to feed my family properly," said Elhaj Moustapha, a once wealthy pepper grower forced into exile by the violence.

Mariam, a Nigerian refugee living in the camp, accosted O'Brien in person to complain about conditions in the camp.

"It has been four months since we last received food aid," she said

But an influx of cash may not be enough to improve her situation and that of others like her.

Several charities have warned that tough security measures imposed by Niger's authorities in its battle against Boko Haram have hampered the flow of food aid to Assaga.

Markets have been closed, the fish and pepper trades suspended and whole areas evacuated, placing a major toll on the area's economy, already under strain from chronic shortages.

Abdou Kaza, the region's military governor, insists the measures are necessary to cut off funds destined for the insurgents and will only be temporary.

But according to the UN, restoring normality to the region will be a herculean task.

About 9.2 million people in the Lake Chad basin that straddles Niger, Nigeria and Chad are in need of food aid as the Boko Haram insurgency, launched in 2009 and responsible for as many as 20 000 deaths, continues unabated.



Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...