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UNHCR Nigeria Situation Regional Update, 1 - 31 January 2019

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Security Developments
- In North-East Nigeria, 39 attacks by Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs) were reported in Borno and Yobe states in January 2019. Perpetrators targeted both civilian and military infrastructure leading to the general deterioration of the security situation in the region. The escalating attacks by Boko Haram militants have strained humanitarian operations and forced aid workers to pull out from some locations.
- Some 9,000 individuals fled the city of Rann after a Boko Haram attack on 14 January left at least fourteen people dead. Militants attacked the town once again on 18 January, killing ten people and burning buildings after looting medical supplies and food. On 26-27 January, an upsurge in violence has driven civilians to seek refuge in already crowded camps or in towns in Borno State, where they are surviving in tough living conditions. Rann has been inaccessible to humanitarians since the attacks in mid-January.
- Between November 2018 and 31 January 2019, over 80,000 Nigerians have been internally displaced due to attacks by Boko Haram and ISIS-related armed groups.
- As a result of the recent incessant attacks by Boko Haram, over 35,000 people fled the Nigerian town of Rann to Far North Cameroon on the last weekend of end January. Click here to read more.
- At the same time, hundreds of Nigerian refugees seeking refuge in Cameroon were reported to have been forcibly returned to Nigeria as the Cameroonian authorities refused their entry in the country. Refoulement took place on the 16, 17 and 28 January, raising concerns about the adherence by Cameroon to the principle of non-refoulement. The Foreign Minister of Cameroon underlines however that Cameroon is keen to respect its international obligations.
- Meanwhile, security in the region remains unstable with recurrent and surging attacks from Boko Haram elements, including killings, abductions and destruction of livelihood and infrastructure. On 28 January, thirty houses were burnt, as well as cereal fields and household properties in the locality of Zheleved. At the end of January, 325 incidents of violence have been reported.
- An estimated 6,000 refugees have sought safety in Chad as they fled Nigeria’s restive Borno State since 26 December, when clashes erupted between Nigerian government forces and non-state armed groups in Baga town, near the Chadian border.
- In Niger, there has been a resurgence of organized crimes, circulation of arms and increased terrorist attacks. The last week of January was marked by 2 abductions and 15 killings. On 28 January, armed individuals attacked a pepper production site in Gamgara. Four civilians were killed and three were wounded. Attackers destroyed and burnt 3 vehicles, 480 pepper bags, 7 shops, and 5 motor pumps.

Operational Highlights

The 2nd Regional Protection Dialogue (RPD2) on the Lake Chad Basin was held in Abuja on 28-29 January. On the 2nd Day of the RPD2, UNHCR and UNDP co-launched the 2019 Nigeria Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRRP) and made an appeal for $135 million to assist hundreds of thousands of refugees, worsened by the Boko Haram insurgency in the region. On the same occasion, OCHA launched the Nigeria Humanitarian Response Strategy that seeks over $800 million in support of some 6 million IDPs. Over 560 drawn across the humanitarian community, donor country representatives, government ministers, and the NGO community witnessed the launch of both the RRRP and HRS. Nigeria’s Vice President resided over the closing of the event on Day 2. Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees in charge of Protection, Volker Türk, represented UNHCR at the event and launch of the Nigeria RRRP.