While the world is still wondering about the brutality of the islamists who killed twelve journalists in Paris last week, in Nigeria other branch of Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, is spreading death in Nigeria in bigger numbers with an irrational violence and forcing people to flee to neighboring Chad; not exactly a paradise but at least a secure place to stay there.
The UN refugee agency on Friday reported that some 7,300 Nigerian refugees have arrived in western Chad in the past 10 days, fleeing attacks by insurgents on Baga town and surrounding villages in north-east Nigeria.
Chadian authorities visited the area on Thursday and asked UNHCR to help with the relocation of more than 1,000 refugees who are stranded on the island of Kangala on Lake Chad. The group arrived there recently after fleeing the general insecurity in north-east Nigeria. Chad is now hosting more than 10,000 refugees from Nigeria.
Meanwhile in Niger, UNHCR has started to relocate refugees from the border area of Gagamari to Sayam Forage camp, deeper inside Niger’s Diffa region. A total 336 refugees have been moved in three convoys since December 30. More convoys are planned in the next days.
In December, the first results of a continuing government census, organized with UNHCR technical support, revealed that at least 90,000 people, including Niger nationals previously living in Nigeria, have found refuge in Niger’s Diffa region since May 2013.
In all, the conflict in north-east Nigeria has led to the exodus of 135,000 people – around 35,000 Nigerians to Cameroon and 10,000 to Chad – and the displacement of at least 850,000 people within Nigeria’s Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.