An estimated 20,000 Nigerian refugees in the Northwest have sought safety in the neighbouring country of Niger Republic since April, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said.
The UN Refugee Agency also said it is working with authorities in the Niger Republic to provide basic assistance and register the new arrivals of Nigerian refugees.
According to a report published on its website on Tuesday, the agency said it has so far registered more than 18,000 displaced persons.
”Niger currently hosts almost 250,000 displaced people – including refugees from Nigeria and locals being displaced inside their own country.
”UN Refugee Agency is concerned about deteriorating security inside Nigeria and is working closely with authorities in Niger to provide basic assistance and register the new arrivals. More than 18,000 people have already gone through the initial registration process so far.
”The region continues to be a leading regional example in providing safety to refugees fleeing conflict and persecution in many countries. It has kept its borders open for refugees despite the ongoing violence in several regions bordering Nigeria, Mali and recently Burkina Faso.
”Many of the newly arrived are located very close to the Nigerian border, where there remains a high risk of armed incursions. UNHCR with sister UN agencies and partners is discussing with the government the possibility of relocating them into local towns and villages further inland.
Hundreds of people have been killed kidnapped in North-west Nigeria particularly in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina and Kaduna States. With the menace of Boko Haram insurgency in the country yet to be eradicated, the presidency has claimed to have degraded the surge.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) launched operation “Tsaftan Daji” (Clean Forest), to flush out the surge of killings in the North-West. Kidnapping and banditry have plagued the region.
There are no official numbers of persons killed in the attacks.
The spokesperson to UNHCR, Babar Baloch, told journalists that the killings in Northwest Nigeria are not ”Boko Haram-related in any way,” Reuters reported On Tuesday.
“This is not Boko Haram-related in any way, people are reportedly fleeing due to multiple reasons, including clashes between farmers and herders of different ethnic groups, vigilantism, as well as kidnappings for ransom,” he said.
Mr Baloch also said refugees arriving in Niger’s southern Maradi region had reported machete attacks, kidnappings, and sexual violence.