6,000 Nigerians flee Boko Haram attack to Chad: UN

984

LAGOS, Jan 22, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Thousands of Nigerians have fled across
Lake Chad since Boko Haram launched attacks in and around the fishing town of
Baga last month, the United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday.

“An estimated 6,000 refugees have fled Nigeria’s restive Borno state since
December 26, when clashes erupted between Nigerian forces and non-state armed
groups in Baga town, near the Chadian border,” the UNHCR said in a statement.

“According to testimonies gathered by our teams, refugees are fleeing in
fear of their lives after threats of retaliation and intimidation following
militant attacks.”

The attacks have been blamed on the Islamic State West Africa Province
faction of Boko Haram, which has repeatedly targeted the military in recent
months.

Last week, the UN said there had since been a “massive displacement” of
more than 30,000 people from Baga and the surrounding area to the Borno state
capital, Maiduguri.

That had increased pressure on already overstretched aid agencies providing
humanitarian assistance in the city.

Another 9,000 Nigerians sought refuge in Cameroon following a separate
attack against troops in Rann, but the authorities there refused to take
them, the UNHCR said last week.

The attacks come as Nigeria prepares to hold presidential and parliamentary
elections in less than a month. Violence and so many displaced people is
expected to make voting problematic.

The conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian army has claimed more than
27,000 lives since 2009 and more than 1.7 million people are still unable to
return to their homes.

Edward Kallon, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, has said the
“increasingly frequent” attacks were “having a devastating impact on…
civilians”.