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From Nigeria to Niger: More than 23,000 People are Escaping Deteriorating Security Situation- UNHCR

The Boko Haram groups, killings, looting and kidnappings in Nigeria’s North-Western states has forced thousands of people to seek refuge in Maradi region, Niger since 2018.

Report from United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) indicate that violence in northwest Nigeria has forced about 23,000 refugees to flee to Niger since April.

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reported the first influx of 20,000 people following a rebellion and banditry in northern Nigeria, which killed hundreds and displaced thousands, affecting mostly women and children from Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states during that period.

In addition, repeated incursions of non-state armed groups in Niger have triggered the internal displacement of over 19,000 people in the northeast.

The UN refugee agency said the deadliest attack killed 47 people in Katsina State as a result of the fight between the terrorist group and the government forces. While, the total number of biometrically registered and unregistered refugees in the region exceeds 63 000.

“We are working closely with authorities in Niger to relocate at least 7,000 refugees to safety … where water, food, shelter, access to health and other essential assistance can be provided,” UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told a media briefing on Tuesday.

“Discussions are also ongoing with the authorities to recognise on a prima facie basis the refugees fleeing Nigeria and arriving in the region,” he said.

The Nigerian government closed all land borders in March to curb the spread of the Covid-19. The country first shut parts of its borders last year to fight smuggling, but people could still cross both ways, a report said.

UNHCR said refugees from Nigeria are being allowed to seek protection in Niger despite border closures with people in need of food, shelter and basic services including health care.

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