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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora