The United Nations High Commission of Refugees UNHCR stressed on Friday that the violence in north-eastern Nigeria has forced more than 157,000 people to flee into the neighboring countries.
This large number needs providing urgent aid to the hosting countries – Niger, Chad and Cameroon – to face challenges due to the increasing number of refugees fleeing Nigeria, said UNHCR Spokesman Adrian Edwards in a press briefing.
“In total, the violence in north-eastern Nigeria has caused more than 157,000 people to flee into Niger (100,000), Cameroon (40,000) and Chad (17,000),” he added.
He noted that a further nearly one million people are estimated to be internally displaced inside Nigeria, according to the country’s National Emergency Management Agency in Nigeria.
In Niger, fighting broke out last week in the town of Bosso near Lake Chad in the southern region of Diffa, between the Niger national armed forces and insurgents from Nigeria, he said.
Fear and panic are spreading fast, and large parts of the population of Diffa are moving further west, towards the city of Zinder, he pointed out. At present UNHCR has no confirmed figures for the internally displaced, but we fear that the scale of displacement is high: Prior to the attacks Diffa had a population of 50,000 – today the town is virtually empty, he said.
In Cameroon, the situation is as worrying, with reports of killings, abductions and brutal violence in the country’s Far North region near the border with Nigeria, he said.
Since the beginning of the year, over 9,000 Nigerian refugees have fled into Cameroon and been moved to the camp where they are receiving emergency assistance, he stated.
UNHCR has registered over 40,000 Nigerian refugees in the Far North to date, and 32,000 of them have moved to Minawao.