News / Africa

Growing Numbers Flee Nigeria Attacks

Ibrahim Gaidam, Governor of Yobe state, left,  looks at  bodies of students  inside an ambulance outside a mosque in Damaturu,  Nigeria,  Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. Islamic militants killed dozens of students in a pre-dawn attack Tuesday on a northeast Niger
Ibrahim Gaidam, Governor of Yobe state, left, looks at bodies of students inside an ambulance outside a mosque in Damaturu, Nigeria, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. Islamic militants killed dozens of students in a pre-dawn attack Tuesday on a northeast Niger

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to De Capua report on Nigeria displaced and refugees

Joe DeCapua
Increasing kidnappings and attacks on civilians in northeast Nigeria has displaced well over 200-thousand people inside the country, and caused tens of thousands of others to flee across borders. The UNHCR calls the brutality and frequency of the attacks unprecedented.
 
Reports of abductions, killings and attacks on schools and villages have now become commonplace in northeastern Nigeria. The recent kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls by the militant group Boko Haram has received worldwide attention. But the incident is one of many.
 
Next week marks the first anniversary of the declaration of a state of emergency in three Nigerian states: Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
 
UNHCR spokesperson Helene Caux recently visited northeastern Nigeria and south Niger. She said, “A lot of the people we have interviewed, whether in Nigeria or in neighboring countries, who are refugees, are telling us that they cannot bear anymore violence. And so they decide to flee.”
 
Caux said the Nigeria Emergency Management Agency is keeping track of the number of displaced.
 
“There are 250,000 people, who would be now internally displaced within Nigeria, mainly in the three northeastern states. Some of the people, who are victims of violence, fled to neighboring countries – to Cameroon, Chad and Niger. We estimate about 61,000 persons, who have fled to the neighboring countries,” she said.
 
People, she said, are fleeing for their lives.
 
“Some of them have been witnessing attacks on their family members, the killings of their family members or friends. So as you can imagine it’s something which is really traumatic. When people are telling you their villages have been completely razed, it’s something really overwhelming. They talk to you also about grenades, which are being launched into crowded markets and you have dozens of people who are being killed and with their livestock.”
 
Many also have had their crops burned.
 
Caux recently spoke to a young man, who survived an attack on his school in Yobe State.
 
“He told me that a group of insurgents came to his school at night. They gathered all the young men or the students in one room. They told them that going to school was forbidden and they started to shoot at the boys. The young man I talked to and who survived got two bullets in the stomach, two in the arms and one in the leg. He told me at the time that 40 students were killed during the attack, including 10 of his friends,” she said.
 
While he was recovering from his wounds, he says the same insurgents attacked the hospital, and he thought they had come to kill him. Instead, they raided the hospital’s medical supplies.
 
The UNHCR spokesperson said conditions at the borders of Niger, Chad and Cameroon can be chaotic, especially in south Niger.
 
“The border area remains very volatile. There are military operations going on also to try to contain the violence. Most of the refugees who are in South Niger are in the Diffa region, which is a very remote and arid area. We estimate that about 700 to 1,000 persons are arriving each week to this region of south Niger from Nigeria.”
 
Some have also reached remote areas on Lake Chad.
 
Caux said another area of concern is Cameroon’s Far North Region, which is across the border from Nigeria’s Borno State. On May 5th, an attack on a market there killed 100 people. In the past year, nearly 7,000 people have fled Borno State to Cameroon.
 
Not all the refugees are Nigerian. Some are migrant workers who are returning to their home countries to escape the violence. Some who cross the border are being arrested as authorities check to see whether any might belong to militant groups.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid