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Niger struggles with refugee influx from restive Nigeria

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Displaced women receive food aid during a distribution at the Cathedral of Yola, state capital of Adamawa, on December 4, 2014.

Niger is facing a massive influx of refugees from neighboring Nigeria, where people are fleeing deadly attacks by Takfiri Boko Haram militants, Press TV reports.

According to the UN refugee agency, the displaced population is placing a heavy burden on Diffa, a remote and economically underdeveloped Nigerien region, making it very difficult for aid agencies to provide assistance to the growing number of refugees.

“All these people you see here fled violence; there are hundreds of separated families; women who have seen their husbands killed; women who do not know where their children are; children separated from their families. So we have all types of situation here,” Azudatou Issa, a member of the International Rescue Committee, told Press TV.

Helima Ibrahim, a female Nigerian refugee, said that “I was in town with my husband and seven children when the” militants “arrived. They killed my husband. They took my two daughters. I managed to run away with only four children.”

Niger’s Prime Minister Brigi Rafini said on December 10 that his country needs more international assistance to help it confront a looming food crisis compounded by an influx of refugees.

He said that Niger’s southwestern Diffa region, which borders Nigeria’s violence-wracked Borno State, has seen the arrival of more than 87,000 refugees since May 2013.

Nearly 650,000 Nigerians have fled their homes due to Boko Haram attacks and are displaced inside the country, while thousands more have taken refuge in neighboring countries, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says.

Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for many deadly gun and bomb attacks in various parts of Nigeria since the beginning of its militancy in 2009. Over 10,000 people have so far been killed in the assaults.

Boko Haram whose name means “Western education is forbidden” says its goal is to overthrow the Nigerian government.


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