30 Reported Dead In Niger Boat Accident

HMS Tamar (REAR), a Batch 2 river-class offshore patrol vessel of the British Navy, is watched by a fishing boat as it patrols the waters off the British island of Jersey on May 6, 2021. Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP
Photo used to illustrate the story. Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP

 

Thirty persons have been reported to have drowned after an overloaded boat capsized in Niger state.

The boat ferrying 100 local traders split into two after hitting a stump during a windstorm as they were returning from a market on Saturday, the spokesperson for Niger State emergency agency, Ibrahim Audu Hussein, confirmed to AFP.

“So far 30 bodies have been recovered and five are still missing,” Hussein said on the accident that occurred at Tijana village in Munya district.

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“Sixty-five passengers were rescued with the help of local divers,” he said.

Heavy rains were hampering the search but divers were “braving the odds”, Husseini added.

President Muhammadu Buhari in reaction to the boat accident on Monday described the incident as disheartening as the victims were reportedly Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Buhari in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu expressed grief over the boat mishap and extended heartfelt sympathies to the families of the dead and the injured.

He also commended the life-saving work of the first responders and local divers at the scene of the incident and wishes the wounded a speedy recovery and success on the search and rescue of some missing passengers on the capsized boat.

President Buhari calls on the transportation authorities to ensure strict adherence to safety regulations on the nation’s waterways and urges that lessons from this accident should help prevent a future occurrence.

IDPs Block Makurdi-Lafia Highway, Protest Killing Of Seven By Herdsmen

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the Abagana camp have blocked the Markurdi-Lafia Federal Highway protesting the recent killings by herdsmen and laying the corpses of the victims on the road.

Benue State Governor addresses the protesting IDPs

 

The suspected herdsmen on Tuesday morning invaded Abagana IDP camp killing seven persons and injuring about 15 of them.

According to an eyewitness account present at the protest, the armed herdsmen stormed the IDP camp and started shooting at the people killing seven and leaving many others injured.

A photo of some of the protesting IDPs

 

The eyewitness warned that they will resort to arms to defend themselves if the Federal Government does not intervene.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Security Architecture Is Being Reorganised, Says Osinbajo

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom during a visit to the scene of the protest challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to rise up to the defence of vulnerable rural farming communities and Internally Displace Persons.

The crowd at the Markudi-Lafia Highway, alongside Governor Samuel Ortom

 

The governor also asked the President to allow them to acquire weapons to fight armed Fulani herdsmen following the attack on the camp.

He further asked the President to convene a National Security Summit to get the true picture of the killings allegedly attributed to the bandit noting that 70 people have been killed in the last one month with no actionable intelligence to track the perpetrators.

 

10 Confirmed Killed In Boko Haram’s Latest Attack On Damasak

 

Ten civilians have been confirmed killed in Tuesday night’s attack on Damasak, the headquarters of the Mobbar Local Government of Borno State.

This is according to the Chairman of the local government, Mustapha Bako Kolo.

An unspecified number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were also injured during the attack, according to Kolo.

Although sources say fighters of the Islamic State West Africa Province met stiff resistance from the Nigerian Army who were supported by the Airforce, the encounter left many civilians injured.

According to sources, the terror group stormed the area in over a dozen gun trucks and could be seen heading towards the Army base in Damasak, as residents were forced to flee for safety.

Last night’s attack on Damasak is the second within the week.

The insurgents had shared a video of their weekend attack on Damasak town during which they burnt UN buildings and food storehouses.

As of the time of filing this report, an official statement from the military was yet to be released.

READ ALSO: Damasak Attack: Civilians, Aid Workers Should Not Be Targets For Terrorists – UN

Nigeria’s military has struggled to end a jihadist insurgency in the northeast for more than a decade, with two million people displaced from the homes by fighting.

The latest attack prompted residents to flee towards the border.

“The locals are currently relocating to Niger Republic due to state of insecurity in the town,” said the military officer, who asked not to be identified.

Many residents had fled the town towards the regional capital Maiduguri or into the town of Diffa across the Niger border following three previous attacks, but other residents decided to stay back.

On Wednesday, residents who remained left the town across the border when militants in several trucks fitted with machine guns engaged troops in a fight outside the military base in an attempt to overrun it.

“This is the situation we found ourselves again, as you can see now we are going to take refuge in another country that is not even our own,” a resident said in a video clip sent to AFP by sources.

In the recording, hundreds of residents are seen on foot and on donkeys moving along a winding bush path with personal effects.

Jihadist warning

The fleeing residents wanted to seek refuge in nearby Gamari village across the border but were told that the jihadists had warned the villagers not to host anyone from Damasak.

“The insurgents went to Gamari last night (Tuesday) and gathered the people and warned them not to accept any humanitarian aid from NGOs and not to accommodate anyone from Damasak,” said another Damasak resident.

“The only option left to us is to go to Diffa where most of our kinsmen fled to in the past two days,” the resident said.

Meanwhile, fighting between the jihadists and troops was continuing around the base, said the resident and the military officer.

The insurgents had attacked the town on Saturday and Tuesday, causing the destruction of humanitarian facilities and at least four deaths, including a soldier.

Late on Tuesday, the jihadists stormed Damasak, burning a divisional police station after a failed attempt to raid the base, residents and military sources said.

Damasak has repeatedly been targeted by ISWAP militants who have made several failed attempts to overrun a military outpost outside the town.

ISWAP, which split from the jihadist group Boko Haram in 2016, has become a dominant threat in Nigeria, attacking soldiers and bases while killing and kidnapping passengers at fake checkpoints.

Nigeria’s 12-year-old jihadist conflict has killed 36,000 people and forced around two million more to flee their homes to escape fighting.

23,000 Refugees Flee Into Niger Over Violence In North West Of Nigeria – UN

File photo: IDP cams in the north of Nigeria.

 

 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said that an estimated 23,000 persons in the northwestern part of Nigeria, have been forced to seek safety and security in Niger in the last one month (April) due to the violence in the region.

According to a statement issued by the UNHCR on Tuesday, this takes the total number of refugees fleeing that part of the country to take sanctuary in neighbouring Niger, to more than 60,000 since the first influx, in April last year.

“Since April 2019, people have fled relentless attacks by armed groups in the Sokoto, Zamfara and Katsina states of Nigeria. Most found refuge in Niger’s Maradi region,” the statement read.

“Fearing and fleeing the same insecurity in the border areas, an additional 19,000 Niger nationals have become displaced inside their own country”.

The UNHCR further explained that the latest influx of refugees, which involves mainly desperate women and children, follows attacks in Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states during the month of April.

“Several villages in several Local Government Areas were attacked by gunmen.

“The deadliest attack claimed 47 lives in Kankara, Danmusa and Dusi-ma Local Government Areas in Katsina State and prompted airstrikes by the Nigerian Armed Forces,” the statement added.

According to the UNHCR, those fleeing speak of extreme violence unleashed against civilians, murders, kidnappings for ransom and pillaging and looting of villages and despite border closures due to COVID-19,  they are still being allowed to seek protection in Niger.

Meanwhile, there’s now an urgent need for water, food and access to health services, as well as shelter and clothing.

But the agency says it is working closely with authorities in Niger to relocate at least 7,000 refugees to safety, in villages 20 kilometres away from the border, where water, food, shelter, access to health and other essential assistance can be provided.

This, according to them, will also ease the pressure on host communities in border areas, where basic infrastructure and services are lacking.

Reps To Partner Red Cross On IDPs

 

The House of Representatives will partner the International Committee on Red Cross (ICRC) over the state of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila made this known while receiving ICRC delegation led by the organisation’s head in Nigeria, Mr Eloi Fillion, on Thursday in Abuja.

Gbajabiamila noted that the collaboration was necessary to ease the sufferings of displaced persons, following the Kampala Convention on IDPs which he believes will go a long way in addressing their plights.

“We’re more than happy to collaborate with you. I’m glad you’re working with my Special Assistant on IDPs. He has a lot of zeal for the work. We always look forward to collaboration such as this.

“Nigeria is a signatory. If the House domesticates it, I think the different states have to do the same. We’ll try and see how we can get it domesticated,” he stated.

According to him, a situation where some international conventions demand that organisations such as ICRC could provide assistance to both soldiers and insurgents at the same time would not augur well for the country.‎

On his part, Mr Fillion said the ICRC would want to collaborate with the House in a number of areas to achieve its mandate in Nigeria, calling for the domestication of the Geneva Convention and the Kampala Convention on IDPs.

‎He said the international community has given ICRC ‎specific mandate to deliver humanitarian service, saying they are independent and neutral in carrying out their mandate, stressing that the organization will organise a workshop ‎where all issues relating to its activities.

750 Families To Get Permanent Shelters In Borno

Air Force Officer Dismissed For Raping 14-Year-Old IDP

 

The Borno State Government has revealed its plans to provide permanent shelters for displaced persons in Bama and Konduga Local Councils of the state.

About 750 families are expected to benefit from the scheme.

According to the governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, the goal is to provide permanent shelters by remodelling the abandoned villages now in ruins.

Meanwhile, in combatting the hunger crisis, caused by the insecurity, the government says it has been distributing food and non-food items to the IDPs.

“In the past, we used to cultivate our farms but now we can’t, because of the problem of Boko Haram,” one of the displaced persons said.

“We can’t go into the bushes we can’t go as far as three kilometers. We need them (government) to help us and solve this Boko Haram problem.”

Details later…

133 Nigerian Refugees Return From Cameroon

Source: Nigerian Air Force

 

 

About 133 Nigerian refugees comprising mostly women and children who fled Nigeria for Cameroon in the wake of the Boko Haram insurgence in the northeast have returned to the country.

The returnees touched down at the Yola International Airport aboard the Nigerian Air Force C130 at about 5:00 pm on Thursday.

They were accompanied by officials of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, UNHCR, IOM, NAPTIP, security agencies and other humanitarian organisations.

Upon their arrival, they were taken to a facility within the Yola International Airport where food was provided for them before going through a screening process.

According to the UNHCR Representative, Roger Volo, the exercise is a voluntary repatriation because the refugees voluntarily signed to return to their ancestral homes.

Also speaking on the repatriation, the newly sworn in Minister for Humanitarian Services, Disaster Management and Internally Displaced Persons, Sadiya Faruk who was on ground to receive the refugees, assured them that government will take care of their welfare.

There are about 97,000 Nigerians taking refuge in Cameroon out of which 8,000 are from Adamawa state while the rest are indigenes of Borno and Yobe State.

According to the Minister, the evacuation of the refugees will continue until all those who are willing to return are brought back home.

Narrating her ordeal, one of the returnees, Amina Saidu, lamented that while in Cameroon, she and her family had to endure so much hardship.

“We were in Cameroon for five years but I left my husband there because he wanted to harvest his farm before returning home in the next batch.

“While in Cameroon we suffered, we didn’t have water and we suffered a lot to fetch fire wood for our cooking. Whenever they give us food, we eat half of it while we sell the other half to meet our other needs. We were not given other condiments except salt, so we need money to buy other food items.

“We are very happy to be back home. We thank God and also the government for bringing us back home,” she said.

The Adamawa State Governor who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Basir Ahmed, said he was delighted about their return.

Over 400,000 Displaced In Northwest Syria In Three Months – UN

Over 50 Mass Graves Discovered In DR Congo - UN Rights Group

 

More than 400,000 people have been displaced by air raids in northwestern Syria over the past three months, the UN said Friday, as its human rights chief condemned “international indifference” over a mounting civilian death toll.

“Airstrikes kill and maim significant numbers of civilians several times a week, and the response seems to be a collective shrug,” UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said in a statement.

The jihadist-dominated Idlib region is supposed to be protected by a months-old international truce deal, but has faced growing bombardment by the government and its ally Russia since late April.

The spike in violence has killed more than 740 civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Aid groups have described the latest bloody episode of Syria’s eight-year civil war as a “nightmare”.

More than 400,000 people have fled violence in the area since the end of April, said David Swanson of the United Nations’ humanitarian coordination office OCHA.

He spoke to AFP as regime air raids pummelled a market in the Idlib province town of Saraqib, the second attack on the same market this week, according to the Observatory.

The Britain-based monitor said one civilian was killed and several others were wounded there on Friday, four days after a similar attack killed more than seven.

It said two other civilians were killed and 20 others were wounded in regime attacks elsewhere in the region.

An AFP photographer in Saraqib saw broken styrofoam crates, fruits and vegetables scattered on the dusty concrete floor near wrecked vegetable trucks.

“The al-Hal market is one of the main commercial hubs of the town,” Layth al-Abdullah, a rescue worker in the town, told AFP.

He said the regime had shown “barbarity… in its killing of civilians and the destruction of their property.”

Displacement

Bachelet warned of continued regime attacks against schools, hospitals, markets and bakeries in the Idlib region.

“These are civilian objects, and it seems highly unlikely, given the persistent pattern of such attacks, that they are all being hit by accident,” she said in a statement.

“Intentional attacks against civilians are war crimes, and those who have ordered them or carried them out are criminally responsible for their actions.”

The region under attack is home to some three million people, nearly half of them already displaced from other parts of the country.

It covers nearly all of Idlib and parts of neighbouring Aleppo, Hama, and Latakia provinces.

Most of the displacement is from southern Idlib and northern Hama, the two areas that have been hit hardest by the flare-up, OCHA said.

“The majority of those fleeing have displaced within Idlib governorate while a smaller number have moved into northern Aleppo governorate.

“Roughly two-thirds of people displaced are staying outside camps,” it said.

Approximately 100 schools in Idlib are now hosting displaced people, OCHA said.

Many are forced to live in the open air because of overcrowding in camps and reception centres, it added.

Schools and Hospitals

The Idlib region is controlled by jihadist alliance Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, led by Al-Qaeda’s former Syria affiliate.

A September accord struck between Moscow and Ankara was supposed to spare the region the bloodshed of a government assault, but it was never fully implemented as jihadists refused to withdraw from a planned buffer zone.

Instead, pro-government forces have since increased the intensity of their bombardment in recent weeks.

Airstrikes by the government and its Russian ally killed 12 civilians in the region on Thursday, according to the Observatory.

Another 50 civilians were killed in strikes on Monday alone — the majority on a busy market, the monitor said.

OCHA described Monday as one of the “deadliest days” in the region since the start of the flare-up.

It said that since the end of April it had documented 39 attacks against health facilities or medical workers in the region.

At least 50 schools have been damaged by the airstrikes and shelling, it added.

The war in Syria has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.

IDPs Flee As Insurgents Attack Camp In Borno

Air Force Officer Dismissed For Raping 14-Year-Old IDP

Armed insurgents on Thursday night attacked Dalori Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The attack caused panic in the camp with many displaced persons fleeing in droves.

Those in neighbouring camp at the University of Maiduguri were also in fear that the attack might extend to their campus.

The insurgents according to witnesses attempted to invade the capital city, Maiduguri but diverted to the camp located near the city gate having met resistance.

Air Force surveillance helicopters were also sighted hovering over the city while the military dispatched a back up sighted racing towards the camp.

More to follow…

Insurgents Again Attack Borno, Loot Military Base

Air Force Officer Dismissed For Raping 14-Year-Old IDP

 

Insurgents who attacked a military base in Gajiram, the local government headquarters of Nganzai in Borno State on Monday night, reportedly looted the armoury.

Spokesperson of Operation Lafiya Dole, Colonel Ado Isa confirmed that the troops in Gajiram had an encounter with insurgents, however, he was yet to provide details at the time of this report.

Sources say the insurgents who came in no fewer than 10 trucks and many motorcycles dislodged troops and looted the armoury, before setting ablaze part of the base.

They were also reported to have stolen drugs from an ambulance and food items from villagers before escaping.

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While it is still not clear if there were any casualties on the side of the military, only one civilian is said to be injured as a result of a stray bullet.

The military has, however, returned to base and fortified the general area.

The attack comes barely 24 hours after a multiple suicide attack in the state, which left at least 30 people killed and nearly fifty others injured.

Gajiram is the Local Government Headquarters of Nganzai local government, where displaced people from all the wards in the council area are currently taking refuge.

It is located in the northern axis of Borno state, where insurgents have intensified attacks in recent times.

UNHCR Calls For More Efforts To Alleviate Suffering Of IDPs

UN To Help 40,000 Cameroonian Refugees In Nigeria

 

The United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR) has called for additional efforts from states and the Federal Government to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerian refugees in neighbouring countries as well as Internally Displaced Persons living in camps across Nigeria.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of the 2019 International Day for Refugees in Abuja, the country’s representative for the UN agency, Antonio Canhandula, noted that recent crisis in Zamfara and Sokoto States have swelled the numbers of Nigerian refugees in Niger and Cameroon.

According to him, there is an urgent need to improve the quality of response to the IDPs.

He also maintained that its time for countries that are a signatory to the Kampala Convention to domesticate the terms of 2009 agreement, which seeks to protect the rights of refugees and IDPs.

’10 Million People Displaced Internally By Conflict In 2018′

An internally displaced Rohingya woman holds her newborn baby surrounded by children in the foreground of makeshift tents at a camp for Rohingya people in Sittwe, northwestern Rakhine State, (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Conflict forced more than 10 million people to flee their homes to live elsewhere within their own country last year, bringing the total number of people internally displaced by violence to a record high, monitors said on Friday.

The new figure brings the total number of people currently living in internal displacement due to violence to 41.3 million, an all-time high, according to a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

“It is really a mind-boggling figure,” NRC chief Jan Egeland told reporters in Geneva.

“It takes extreme violence and fear of disasters to force a family out of their home, their land, their property, their community,” he stressed.

Including those uprooted from their homes by natural disasters as well as conflicts, a total of 28 million people were displaced internally in 2018, the report said.

A full 10.8 million of new internally displaced people (IDPs) last year were fleeing conflict, with strife in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Syria, as well as intercommunal tensions in Ethiopia, Cameroon and Nigeria responsible for most of the displacements, the study said.

The number of people currently living as IDPs is far higher than the some 25 million who have fled across borders as refugees.

Countries with the most IDPs

Surprisingly perhaps, the report found that the highest number of new internal displacements last year was in Ethiopia, with a full 2.9 million people fleeing their homes inside the East African country, where communal clashes, typically sparked by land disputes, are common.

Strife-torn DRC came in second, with 1.8 million fresh IDPs in 2018, followed by Syria with 1.6 million new internal displacements.

But in total, Syria, ravaged by eight years of war, counts 6.1 million IDPs, in addition to around the same number of Syrians still living as refugees.

On top of those forced from their homes by violence, 17.2 million people were internally displaced by natural disasters last year, Friday’s report found.

Tropical cyclones and monsoon floods forced nearly 10 million to flee inside the Philippines, China and India.

IDMC chief Alexandra Bilak told reporters that most of those displacements were linked to government-orchestrated evacuations ahead of natural disasters.

“This of course saves lives, but demonstrates that there are still too many people in those countries who are exposed to extreme events,” she said.

Hundreds of thousands of people were also forced from their homes in California last year by the most destructive wildfires in the state’s history.

Some 22,000 people remain displaced by those fires, Bilak said.

AFP