OAGs continue to target civilian populations, as well as humanitarian staff and facilities, particularly in northeastern Nigeria and Cameroon’s Far North Region
Heavy rains since August have led to widespread flooding, exacerbating humanitarian needs throughout the region and causing further displacement
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity and limited humanitarian access to communities in need
Armed Groups Target Civilians and Humanitarian Facilities
Security conditions have worsened in parts of the Lake Chad Basin—comprising Cameroon’s Far North Region, Chad’s Lac Region, Niger’s Diffa Region, and northeastern Nigeria’s Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states—in recent months as organized armed groups (OAGs) continue to attack civilians, particularly in Borno. Recent OAG attacks in the state included an incident on September 25 in which OAG members attacked a convoy of internally displaced persons (IDPs) being escorted back to areas of origin by security forces. International media reports indicate that the attack resulted in at least 11 deaths, with OAG actors wounding at least 13 others. OAG attacks on civilian vehicles also remain a frequent occurrence, and OAG activity along key routes in Borno—particularly the use of illegal vehicle checkpoints to halt traffic and detain travelers—has increased in recent months; this trend has prevented the delivery of humanitarian assistance by road in many areas. Additionally, OAGs have increasingly used improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to inflict civilian casualties throughout FY 2020, with at least 15 incidents recorded during the year in northeastern Nigeria alone, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). OAGs also continue to ta rget civilian settlements, including IDP sites, leading to civilian casualties and abductions. In one prominent incident on August 18, OAG members attacked Borno’s Kukawa town, abducting more than 100 residents who had recently returned to Kukawa after fleeing a previous attack in November 2018.
In addition, relief actors warn that OAGs have been targeting humanitarian staff and facilities in northeastern Nigeria, including a June incident in which OAG members abducted and later killed five humanitarian workers traveling near Borno’s Monguno town. The UN has also warned that OAGs often utilize illegal OAG checkpoints to identify and target civilians suspected of being aid workers for violence and abduction. Humanitarian access in northeastern Nigeria remains limited outside areas with a large military presence, and some local government areas (LGAs) remain partially or completely inaccessible to humanitarian actors; the UN estimates that 1.2 million Nigerians live in inaccessible areas.
Security conditions have also deteriorated in Cameroon’s Far North region, where OAGs have escalated attacks on both civilian and military targets in recent months, according to international media. Between August 1 and September 14, OAG members carried out three attacks on IDP sites, killing 30 civilians and injuring more than 40 others; additionally, OAG members based in Nigeria crossed into Far North to attack a settlement on Bulgaram Island in Lake Chad on August 25, killing at least 14 civilians. OAGs have also attacked civilian communities in Lac and Diffa regions in Chad and Niger, respectively, in recent months, exacerbating humanitarian needs in affected areas. In Lac, security conditions have deteriorated sharply in 2020, leading the Government of Chad (GoC) to declare a state of emergency in Fouli and Kaya departments, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).