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UN to relocate refugees from Niger's Diffa region

UN to relocate refugees from Niger's Diffa region

Niger

The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, will move hundreds of Nigerian displaced persons to more secure camps.

UNHCR is relocating the refugees to a camp about 25 kilometers from two spontaneous sites in Niger threatened by Boko Haram attacks.

There are more than a quarter million refugees and internally-displaced persons in Niger’s Diffa region. This is after years of Boko Haram attacks and atrocities in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria.

We don't have facilities for people with special needs like children and pregnant or breastfeeding women.

“We also have a very short time period to move people under these harsh desert-like conditions. The trucks aren’t equipped to protect the refugees from the heat. We don’t have facilities for people with special needs like children and pregnant or breastfeeding women,” said Guide Adamou, the head of office of UNHCR in Diffa.

The UN estimates that the insurgency group has carried out about 30 attacks in the Diffa region this year.

“Peace is when God protects us from evil things. I want to be far away from Boko Haram. Every day we pray for protection and peace,” said Boussam Abdulahi, a Nigerian refugee.

Abdulahi’s town in northern Nigeria was attacked by militants nearly two years ago. She and her daughters were kidnapped before eventually being rescued after three months.

“The women who refused to convert to their religion and become their wives were kept in a separate room. We were only given beans to eat. Many of the women and children there with me got sick. Some died. I think the food was poisoned. They would often burst in and shoot in the air to frighten us,” she explained.

Recently, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) called for greater world attention on the massive humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Diffa region.

Boko Haram has claimed thousands of lives since 2009 and displaced about 2 million people.

The Islamist militants have carried out a spate of suicide bombings in Nigeria and its neighbouring countries. The insurgency group is seeking to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria.

Reuters, OCHA