An estimated 30,000 Nigerians have returned from Cameroon to the flashpoint town of Rann, which has been targeted repeatedly by Boko Haram militants this year, the United Nations refugee agency has said in an emailed comment to Reuters.
The men, women and children were among 40,000 civilians who fled Rann and sought refuge in the Cameroonian village of Goura.
A United Nations humanitarian report said 5,000 remained in Goura and were expected to make the 8-km (5-mile) trip to Rann on foot.
The other 5,000 had reportedly travelled to Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria’s Borno state, or to other unknown locations, the UN report said. The Rann residents who decided to return did so after being visited by Nigerian officials who encouraged them to go, and gave assurances that security would be restored in the area, the UNHCR statement said.
“They have responded to this appeal and many have opted to take the return journey home,” UNHCR said.
“We have also advocated with the authorities to guarantee admission and protection of those seeking asylum and government support so that humanitarian organisations can deliver assistance.”
On Wednesday, the aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said Cameroonian and Nigerian authorities had ordered the 40,000 refugees to return to northeast Nigeria.