UNHCR warns against forced returns to Northeast Nigeria amid rising violenceListen /
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says Nigerians who are fleeing escalating violence and conflict in the north east of the country should not be forcibly returned home.
Conflict between the Nigerian army and insurgents in the north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe has displaced up to 10,000 Nigerians, the majority of whom have fled into neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
UNHCR is urging neighbouring countries to keep their borders open for fleeing Nigerians, adding that the majority of the displaced may need international protection and humanitarian assistance.
Dan McNorton, is the UNHCR Spokesperson in Geneva.
“Violence is estimated to have displaced an estimated 5,000 people within the region, but as humanitarian access has been hampered by the attacks, UNHCR believes the actual number of people affected could be significantly higher. UNHCR has been alarmed at reports of the attempted forced return of 111 people from Cameroon to Nigeria on 5 October. They were expelled from a village in the Far North region of Cameroon, to Adamawa state in Nigeria. During the incident 15 people were killed and another seven wounded. The remaining 89 individuals immediately fled back to Cameroon and were detained. UNHCR is working with the Government of Cameroon to assess whether there are people in the group in need of international protection.”
Nigeria’s north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe have been under a state of emergency since May as the government battles insurgents from the Boko Haram militant group.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.