The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) on Friday said about 65,000 people fled Nigeria’s northeastern town of Damasak following continued clashes between rebel groups and national forces, reported Africa News.
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group launched a series of attacks in Nigeria’s Borno state, looting and burning homes, police station, warehouses of some humanitarian agencies, a UNHCR facility, and a clinic.
“Up to 65,000 Nigerians are on the move following a series of attacks by armed groups on Damasak town, in northeast Nigeria’s restive Borno State”, UNCHR spokesperson Babar Baloch told journalists in Geneva.
He said as per initial reports eight people were killed, and a dozen were injured in the recent attacks.
Mr. Baloch said in the latest attack on Wednesday up to 80 percent of the town’s population, which includes the local community and internally displaced people as well, had been forced to flee. At least four people were killed in an attack Monday.
“Following the latest attack on Wednesday 14 April, the third in seven days, up to 80 percent of the town’s population – which includes the local community and internally displaced people – were forced to flee,” the UNHCR spokesman said.
ISWAP, which split from the armed group Boko Haram in 2016, has become a dominant threat in Nigeria, attacking soldiers and bases and killing and kidnapping civilians.
Mr. Baloch said providing humanitarian access to the needy has become increasingly challenging in many parts of Nigeria’s Borno State due to insecurity, including for UNHCR staff, who were forced to temporarily relocate out of Damasak in the past seven days. The aid operations had been temporarily suspended in the area.
Due to worsening security in the region, humanitarian workers are unable to provide aid, with the number of people requiring urgent assistance expected to rise to 8.7 million this year.