Attacks in Nigeria Displace Thousands of Civilians

A Nigerian family seeking refuge in Diffa town, Niger, from increase violence in home country A Nigerian family seeking refuge in Diffa town, Niger, from increase violence in home country UNHCR/Ibrahim Abdou

5 June 2019

An upsurge in violence forces about 20,000 Nigerians to seek refuge in Niger

As of April 2019, Niger has been experiencing an influx of Nigerian refugees as violence continues to rise in north-western Nigeria. Refugees predominantly reside in Niger’s Maradi and Diffa regions.

Diffa hosts about 250,000 displaced people affected by the continuous violence caused by the Boko Haram, the jihadist group that started its armed rebellion against the Nigerian government in 2009. However, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) spokesperson, Babar Baloch, the latest spike in numbers of Nigerian refugees is not directly linked to violents acts performed by Boko Haram.

Instead, Baloch recalls that “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 in Nigeria’s Sokoto and Zamfara States.” The victims arriving in Niger’s Maradi region are predominantly women and children who have witnessed and/or experienced sexual violence, kidnapping, and machete attacks. Due to the unrest within the country, the UNHCR is concerned with maintaining a stable  security situation within Nigeria while simultaneously attempting to prevent its further disintegration.

This past April, the Senate in Nigeria increased the 2019 budget by 80 billion naira ($261 million) with the aim to increase national security. Meanwhile, Niger continues to welcome a steady stream of refugees. In order to alleviate the burden on the welcoming country, UNHCR is assisting the Niger government with registering new arrivals, with 18,000 people having already gone through the initial registration process since April of this year. As a significant number of newly arrived refugees reside close to the border, where armed conflict augments, UNHCR, together with partnering agencies and the Niger government, plans to relocate them to safer inland towns. Additionally, UNHCR intends to support host families who are willing to welcome refugees into their homes in order to secure better living conditions and future for the Nigerian refugees.


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Author: Giulia DeLuca, Editor: Aleksandra Krol

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