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Niger sets goal of returning 130,000 Nigerian refugees by year-end

Niger sets goal of returning 130,000 Nigerian refugees by year-end
Refugees gather to get some water in the Diffa camp in June 2016.   -  
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ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP or licensors


Niger and the state of Borno in neighbouring Nigeria have struck a deal for the return this year of more than 130,000 Nigerian refugees, Niger's president Mohamed Bazoum said Friday.

"We have set a deadline of the month of November-December for all the refugees from Nigeria who are in the Diffa region (of southeast Niger) to return home, it's more than 130,000 people," Bazoum told reporters on the sidelines of a G5 Sahel summit in Paris.

Niger hosts tens of thousands of people who have fled from northeast Nigeria, where Boko Haram Islamists launched a bloody campaign a dozen years ago.

Borno has borne the brunt of the conflict, which has killed around 40,000 people and displaced more than two million.

Its authorities are already trying, with limited success, to encourage internally-displaced people in Borno to return to their homes.

NIger is also fighting jihadist incursions on two fronts - on its western border with Mali and in its southeastern border with Nigeria, in the vast Lake Chad area.

The Diffa region is home to 300,000 Nigerian refugees and displaced people, according to the UN.

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