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Nigeria Situation: UNHCR Regional Update 01-31 July 2018

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Nigeria
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UNHCR
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226,559 Nigerian refugees displaced by the insurgency in Cameroon, Chad and Niger as of 31 July 2018
(or latest figures available)

2,254,213
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the region displaced by the insurgency
(or latest figures available)

HIGHLIGHTS AND OPERATIONAL CONTEXT

  • Security: Over the past month, armed conflict in north-eastern Nigeria did not show any signs of de-escalation, resulting in civilian casualties and further displacement, especially in Borno state. This posed security risks for aid workers, persons of concern and collaterally to program implementation. Given that military operations have been announced to continue throughout the 2018 rainy season, these displacement trends are likely to continue until at least the end of August. Close to 130,000 people are estimated to have been newly displaced in the north-east since October 2017, largely as a result of insecurity triggered by such operations. These movements present major humanitarian challenges as resources are often already overstretched in the locations in which these civilians arrive. Humanitarian interventions will remain limited in geographical scope, largely reliant on UNHAS transportation services and military escorts.

  • In Cameroon, after a resurgence of attacks in June, Government authorities reinforced security in areas bordering Nigeria. Humanitarian operations have been slowed down as a result of the systematic checks of administrative and security vehicles that have ensued. In Chad, an increase in violent attacks was also noted, the last of which occurred on 19 July, when 18 persons (women and children) had their throats slit in the village of Mairon, on Lake Chad. This change in tactics could be attributed to the fact that new factions belonging to the Islamic State may have made their way into the region as Boko Haram elements have not recently been in the habit of slaughtering civilians in the area, choosing predominantly to attack with the goal of obtaining supplies. In Niger, Boko Haram attacks continued to be reported with a small number of civilian deaths, but also abductions and ransom threats.

  • On 29 July, 12 asylum-seekers were being forcibly returned to Banki, Nigeria, in a Cameroonian army truck which drove over an improvised explosive device that exploded killing six Nigerian asylum-seekers. Six Cameroonian soldiers and six other asylum-seekers were also injured in the incident, which took place in Homaka, Mayo Sava department. Since the beginning of 2018, over 800 Nigerian refugees and asylum-seekers in Cameroon have been forcibly returned to Nigeria. UNHCR called on the Government of Cameroon to refrain from carrying out more forced returns and reminded the Government of its obligations under international law and the commitments it made by signing the Tripartite Agreement in March 2017.

  • UNHCR and its partners in Cameroon, Chad and Niger prepared for the Oslo II conference which will take place in Berlin on 3 and 4 September 2018 with the goal of engaging development actors, raising funds and identifying areas of opportunity that need to be accelerated, scaled-up or reprioritized to improve resilience in the LCB.