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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More