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.

Read Also: Ganduje Gives Details Of N6.8m Allegedly Swallowed By Gorilla In Kano Zoo

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

IDPs Protest Over Shortage Of Food In Borno

 

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital are protesting over food shortage in their camp.

Men, women and children residing at the Gubio road IDP camp on Thursday confronted aid workers over what they described as a desperate situation.

Most of the protesters are new arrivals from Kukawa and Kalabalge, the Local Government Areas sacked by insurgents early this year, who say they are forced to sleep outside in open spaces.

READ ALSO: Fire Engulfs 45 Houses In Jigawa

It took the intervention of security personnel manning the camp to push back the protesting IDPs who were threatening to take to the streets.

The Gubio road camp is home to over 28,0000 displaced persons mostly from Monguno, Kukawa and Kalabalge Local Government of Borno state.

How 409,000 IDPs, Others Will Vote In Borno – INEC

How 409,000 IDPs, Others Will Vote In Borno – INEC
A file photo of displaced people at an IDP camp in Borno State.

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has explained how the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and other residents of Borno State will vote in the general elections.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr Mohammed Ibrahim, gave the breakdown in an interview on Friday in Maiduguri, the state capital.

With just a few hours to the commencement of the polls, he said INEC has distributed sensitive materials to its ad-hoc staff for Saturday’s elections.

Mr Ibrahim revealed that out of the 2,315,956 registered voters in Borno, 409,000 people would vote from various IDP camps.

He also disclosed that eight voting centres have been identified for displaced people in the state in order to accommodate the affected population.

READ ALSOUN Asks Nigerians To Reject Persons Seeking To Disrupt Elections

The REC said people in Abadam and Kukawa Local Government Areas (LGAs) would vote in designated centres in Maiduguri.

He added that those in Guzamala and Marte would cast their votes in Monguno LGA, just as Kalabalge locals would vote in Gamboru Ngala as against Rann.

According to him, all other electorates in the remaining 22 local governments would vote at their local units or the LGA headquarters as the case may be.

The REC explained that this was the unanimous decision of stakeholders in the respective LGAs, as a result of the high number of voters residing in the respective areas.

Some of the displaced people were hopeful that they would encounter less stress in the course of the exercise, compared with their experiences in the 2015 elections.

Elsewhere, the Borno State Police Command said it has deployed 11,000 personnel on election duties across the state.

The Commissioner of Police, Damian Chukwu, noted that the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), as well as other sister agencies, have provided personnel to support the police for the assignment.

He said the security operatives would escort electoral materials to voting points across the state and maintain law and order at all polling units in line with the laws of the land.

IDPs Panic, Flee As MNJTF Withdraws From Rann

Source: A Displaced Survivor from Rann

 

Panicking internally displaced persons (IDPs) are fleeing Rann after partner countries of the Multinational Joint Task Force withdrew from the Borno community, leaving only the Nigerian Army in charge of their security.

The Theatre Commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Benson Akinroluyo, told journalists after a meeting with the state Governor, Kashim Shettima on Monday that the news of the withdrawal had caused apprehension among the people.

“Rann is not dislodged, it is just that our counterparts from the other countries withdrew and our troops are the only ones there; people are apprehensive,” he said.

Read Also: Picture Source: A Displaced Survivor from Rann

Akinroluyo, however, stated that regardless of the setbacks, operations were still going on smoothly within the theatre of operation.

He also solicited the support of the government and co-operation of the people to enforce peace in the region.

On his path, Governor Shettima assured the theatre commander of his continued support and commended the Nigerian armed forces for their commitment to the counter-terrorism war.

He told journalists that the government plans to engage local hunters and vigilante to help enhance security in outlines parts of the metropolitan city.

In recent times Rann has been a major target for attacks, causing humanitarian agencies to also withdraw their support.

With the latest development, IDPs are said to have fled the town, crossing a river to Bodo, a community in Cameroon bordering Rann.