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UN: 35,000 displaced Nigerians are in Cameroon

UN: 35,000 displaced Nigerians are in Cameroon
February 02
17:48 2019

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) says 35, 000 people displaced by Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast are now safe in neighboring Cameroon.

In January, thousands fled Rann in Borno state to Cameroon after the insurgents repeatedly attacked the town.

In a statement on Saturday, UNHCR said the people are now safe but the commission raised worries over those who attempted to return to Rann.

“For now, the 35,000 Nigerian refugees are safe in Cameroon, although many are once again putting themselves at risk by returning to Rann on foot, to collect a few personal possessions which were not looted or burnt,” the statement read.

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“The outlawed terrorist group has been active in this impoverished corner of north-east Nigeria for over a decade. Thousands of people not just in Nigeria but over the border in Cameroon and Chad, have been killed, many summarily executed.

“The livelihoods of tens of thousands of others have been destroyed in the insurgency, as regional governments struggle to put an end to the ongoing violence.

“The refugees left Rann following the recent withdrawal of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) which came to secure the city after an attack on January 14.

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“The MNJTF was set up by the affected countries – Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Benin – to counter Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups which are gaining ground across the Lake Chad region.”

Allegra Baiocchi, the UN resident coordinator who visited Goura in Cameroon on Friday, also said the people who fled to Cameroon had no choice, as this is where they need to be now if they want to stay alive.

Geert de Casteele, another top official of the commission added that the response from humanitarian workers here has been impressive in what is an extremely challenging environment. He said there is need to scale up the response keeping in mind the local population and that is the next step they hope to achieve with increased funding.

In January, the UN, in coordination with the government and aid partners, announced its 2019 humanitarian response plan which focuses on the whole of the country, including areas affected by Boko Haram.

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There had been concerns, however, about the possible forceful ejection of the Nigerian refugees in Cameroon as the country had threatened many times.

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