The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Tuesday said over 3,000 Nigerian refuges have arrived Cameroon.
Briefing newsmen in Geneva on Tuesday, UNHCR spokesman, Adrian Edwards said another 2,692 Nigerian refugees are in Niger republic following continued clash between the Islamist insurgents, Boko Haram and troops of the Special Forces.
President Jonathan had in May declared a state of emergency on three northern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa to contain the activities of the Islamist insurgents.
According to him, “Crossings of Nigerians into Cameroon began a week ago, with people telling us they had fled a confrontation between the Nigerian Army and Boko Haram insurgents some 10 kilometers from border.
“Most of those who have arrived so far are women and children. They are being hosted in churches and schools, and relying on food from the churches and local population. We are working with the authorities to relocate the refugees to safer places away from the border”.
Edwards added that the Agency had sent relief aid by trucks from Niamey, Niger Republic to the south eastern Diffa region, “where over 6,000 persons have arrived from northern Nigeria in the past weeks.
He spoke further, “That figure includes Nigerian nationals (2,692) as well as returning Niger nationals (3,544) and others (mainly Chadians). Mats, blankets, jerry cans, soaps, buckets, mosquito nets and kitchen items have been pre-positioned in Diffa, Bosso, Kablewa and Menesewa and will be distributed to both Nigerian refugees and Nigerien returnees.
“Most of the new arrivals in Niger are women and children coming from rural villages across the border and from Maiduguri and Baga towns”.
Edwards also said that as at 11 June, gunshots were heard in Malam Fatouri, a village on the Nigeria side, near the border, prompting most of the population to flee into Niger. He said “they travelled by foot and motorcycles and found refuge with host families just across the border.
“Hundreds of new arrivals have also been reported in an area some 60 km north of Diffa, according to local authorities.
He however, admitted that the UNCHR team observed that some displaced Nigerians were returning home after a few days in Niger or shuttling between the two countries depending on the security situation in Nigeria.