GENEVA / NIGERIA DISPLACEMENTS

28-May-2019 00:01:39
An upsurge in violence in areas of north-west Nigeria beyond the reach of humanitarians has forced thousands of people to flee to neighbouring Niger, UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Tuesday. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / NIGERIA DISPLACEMENTS
TRT: 1:39
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 28 MAY 2019 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Exterior shot, Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, Room III, Palais des Nations
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Babar Baloch, spokesperson, UNHCR:
“People leaving Nigeria, and arriving in Niger’s north-eastern Maradi Region, speak of witnessing extreme violence unleashed against civilians, including machete attacks, kidnappings and sexual violence. The majority of the recent arrivals are women and children."
4. Wide shot, journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Babar Baloch, spokesperson, UNHCR:
“People are fleeing due to multiple reasons, as far as we understand, including clashes between farmers and herders of different ethnic groups, vigilantism, as well as kidnappings for ransom."
6. Wide shot, journalists
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Babar Baloch, spokesperson, UNHCR:
“These attacks, and this violence against civilians, now has forced 20,000 refugees into Niger, and as refugees continue to arrive, the fear is if this violence goes unchecked, more people could be displaced internally, and also into Niger.”
8. Wide shot, journalists
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Babar Baloch, spokesperson, UNHCR:
“The reality is that people who come or who have arrived to Niger, speak of extreme violence against civilians and also, the reality- the 20,000 who are now refugees in Niger- the worry is, that this adds a new dimension onto the ongoing conflict that is already affecting Nigeria.”
10. Wide shot, journalists
11. Med shot, journalists
12. Wide shot, journalists
STORYLINE
An upsurge in violence in areas of north-west Nigeria beyond the reach of humanitarians has forced thousands of people to flee to neighbouring Niger, UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Tuesday.

Warning that some 20,000 people have been uprooted from their homes since April in Nigeria’s Sokoto and Zamfara states, the agency’s Babar Baloch told journalists in Geneva that UNHCR is working with authorities in Niger to help the new arrivals.

“People leaving Nigeria, and arriving in Niger’s north-eastern Maradi Region, speak of witnessing extreme violence unleashed against civilians, including machete attacks, kidnappings and sexual violence,” Mr. Baloch said. “The majority of the recent arrivals are women and children."

According to UNHCR, the development is not linked to ongoing insecurity and attacks perpetrated by Boko Haram that have spilled over into Niger’s southerly Diffa region since 2015, causing a record number of civilian casualties and “unprecedented” displacement.

“People are fleeing due to multiple reasons,” Baloch said, “including clashes between farmers and herders of different ethnic groups, vigilantism, as well as kidnappings for ransom".
Amid serious concerns about ongoing insecurity in Nigeria, the UNHCR official welcomed Niger’s open-door policy to refugees fleeing conflict and persecution in other countries, including Mali and Burkina Faso.

“These attacks, and this violence against civilians, now has forced 20,000 refugees into Niger,” he said. “And as refugees continue to arrive, the fear is if this violence goes unchecked, more people could be displaced internally, and also into Niger.”

Beyond providing basic assistance to those crossing the Nigerian border into Niger, UNHCR is also registering the new arrivals so they can benefit from protection, healthcare and education, among other essential services.

But the agency has warned that the displaced are located very close to the border where there is a “high risk” of attack and is seeking to relocate them further inland.
“The reality is that people who come or who have arrived to Niger, speak of extreme violence against civilians,” Mr. Baloch explained. “And also, the reality- the 20,000 who are now refugees in Niger- the worry is, that this adds a new dimension onto the ongoing conflict that is already affecting Nigeria.”

Today, Niger hosts more than 380,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Mali and Nigeria, in addition to its own internally displaced population. The country has also provided refuge to some 2,782 asylum seekers airlifted from insecurity in Libya, while awaiting durable solutions, UNHCR said in a statement.
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