Six thousand Nigerians displaced as government cracks down on militant groupsListen /
More than 6,000 people mainly women, children and the elderly have fled parts of northern Nigeria to seek safety in neighbouring Niger, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).
The displaced have told UNHCR that they had escaped for fear of being caught in the government-led crackdown on insurgents linked to the Boko Haram militant group.
Refugees report that air strikes by government forces are continuing from time to time in the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa where the state of emergency has been in force for the past one month.
Adrian Edwards is UNHCR spokesperson in Geneva.
"People arriving in Niger also mention the increased presence of roving armed bandits in several states in Nigeria. Rising commodity prices coupled with pre-existing food insecurity is also becoming a major concern. New arrivals are either renting houses or staying with host families. UNHCR staff who visited several border villages also met some Nigerian families living out in the open under trees. Although the local population has been welcoming, the presence of the newcomers is also putting a strain on meager food and water resources. Niger suffers food insecurity due to years of drought. UNHCR is planning to deliver some relief items to the new arrivals as well as to the host communities."
Adrian Edwards says there have also been arrivals of displaced Nigerians in Cameroon and Chad.
He adds that the agency is not present in the parts of northeastern Nigeria that are under a state of emergency due to insecurity, and information about the humanitarian situation and displaced people in the affected regions is very limited.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.