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

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora