UN Says North-East Not Safe For Return of IDPs

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Boko Haram retakes Niger boarder town of Bosso
Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The United Nation (UN) has advised the federal government against returning the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) living in different camps within the country, especially to Borno and Yobe States for now, on the premise that part of North-east was not yet safe.
This is coming as the Boko Haram terrorists launched a major comeback by taking a major border town of Bosso in Niger Republic.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Regional Representative for West Africa and Regional Coordinator for the Nigeria Situation, Ms. Liz Ahua, stated this on Monday in Abuja at the Lake Chad Basin Regional Protection Dialogue for the Victims of Boko Haram Insurgency,

Ahua revealed that Boko Haram-led terrorism in Nigeria, Cameroun, Niger and Chad had led to loss of thousands of lives and caused massive displacement of over 2.7 million IDPs and refugees in the region.
She noted that up to 60 per cent of the IDPs are children, out of which more than 20,000 are unaccompanied children displaced by the conflict.

She said: “We note that there are returns that are taking place even as we talk today, but I will simply want to underscore that the conditions are not fully ripe yet because we still have persistent threats from Boko Haram, presence of mines, unexploded Improvised devices as well as absence of some basic services. All of these put acute humanitarian and protection risks for the populations affected. We have visited these areas and we know precisely of what we are saying.

“In Nigeria alone, 3.5 million IDPs and host communities live in areas of Borno and Yobe States that are still largely inaccessible to humanitarian actors. We take note and rejoice on the successes achieved by the military operations that have brought back a number of areas in the north-eastern Nigeria occupied by Boko Haram under government control as well as the capacity of the insurgence to engage militarily.

“However, these have not fully degraded the capacity for the harassment, the maiming and killing of the defenceless civilians. Consequently, conditions of live in the northeast is not yet fully conducive for the return of Nigerian refugees and IDPs particularly in Borno State.

“The Lake Chad Basin today faces a fundamental protection crisis in Nigeria and across the neighboring states. The Boko Haram insurgency and the spill over in Cameroun, Niger and Chad has led to the loss of thousands of lives and massive displacement of over 2.7 million people in the region and affected the lives over 20 million persons in the countries,” she added.

According to Ahua: “It is important to note that around 60 per cent of the affected population are children and we insist on that. Among these affected children we have 20,000 unaccompanied.
“Many of them are living in areas where the humanitarian and civilian government actors have limited access to help them because of insecurity.”

Meanwhile, it is feared, she said, that another 50,000 persons have been dislocated from their homes in a town in Niger following an attack that took place on that town on Friday June 3.
She said the numbers of IDPs in Niger may swell to 180,000, while that of Cameroun and Chad are reported to be over 160,000 and 54,000 IDPs respectively.”

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Interior, Mr. Bassey Akpanyung, said the regional dialogue was stimely against the backdrop of the progress being recorded by the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and members of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) in the ongoing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations within the region.

According to Akpanyung, the degradation of the terrorists by the regional force has thrown up social and humanitarian challenges, especially the emergence of refugee camps for displaced Nigerians in neighbouring countries as well as IDPs within Nigeria.

In a related development, the Boko Haram, are said to have retaken the town of Bosso in south-eastern Niger Republic overnight on Monday after clashes with soldiers from Niger and Nigeria, the mayor of Bosso and a military source said on Monday.

The Reuters reported that the Islamist group first took the town near the Nigerian border on Friday in an attack in which 30 soldiers from Niger and two from Nigeria were killed.
The Nigerien Defence Ministry stated that their troops had retaken the town by Saturday morning before the counter-offensive by the terrorists group.