About 23,000 persons in the North-western part of Nigeria have been compelled to find safety and security in Niger state due to the increasing violence rate in the region in the past one month, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says. 

The UNHCR on Tuesday, said, the total number of refugees fleeing t region to take shelter in neighbouring Niger has grown to 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 women and children are the latest influx of refugees, due to incessant 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 despite border closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 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.


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