▪ Food insecurity to remain high in the lean season ▪ 278 Nigerian asylum seekers forced back from Cameroon ▪ Aid operations resume in Rann in north-east Nigeria ▪ Military operations underway around Lake Chad ▪ More than a thousand children abducted since 2013
Food insecurity is projected to remain high in the coming months as the lean season gets underway. Currently (March – May) around 4 million are food insecure across the conflict-affected regions of the Lake Chad Basin.
The figure is set to increase to almost 5 million at the height of the lean season between June and August.
This is, however, lower than the same period in 2017 when 7 million people were food insecure. Nigeria’s north-eastern Adamawa, Borno and Yobe sates have recorded the greatest decline: from 4.7 million people in March – May 2017 to 2.3 million in March – May 2018.
Humanitarian assistance and improved harvests in the three-conflict-hit states have boosted food availability, according to the Cadre Harmonisé March food security assessment.
Armed attacks persist across the region. Civilians, including the displaced, towns and villages frequently come under attack. Humanitarian operations were suspended in Rann town in north-east Nigeria in March following an armed raid. In what is believed to be the worst attack in months on Maiduguri, the capital of Borno, assailants launched a major assault on 26 April, with blasts and gunfire rattling the city home to more than 260,000 displaced people and several aid organisations. The military launched air and ground offensive to repulse the raiders. Borno state has witnessed a rise in insecurity in recent months.
Around Lake Chad and on some of its islands, the Joint Multinational Task Force (MNJTF) has launched new military operations against armed groups in the region There are fears of population displacement, reduced humanitarian access and the risk of UXO. In Niger, humanitarian missions to Bosso town, a vaccination campaign and mobile clinics have had to be cancelled. Meanwhile in Chad, UNHCR has set up a registration centre in Ngouboua in the western Lac region for potential population displacement. No significant population movement has so far been reported. 50 km As part of security measures, Nigerien authorities in March extended for three months the state of emergency in Diffa. The restriction has been in place in the south- eastern region since February 2015.
Despite the agreement on voluntary repatriation of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon, asylum seekers continue to be forced back from Cameroon. Since the start of 2018, 385 Nigerians have been forcibly returned from Cameroon’s Far North region. UNHCR voiced concerns on 20 April and appealed Cameroonian authorities to refrain from further forced returns and ensure protection to those fleeing insecurity and persecution. In the latest incident on 10 April, 160 Nigerian refugees and asylum- seekers were forcibly returned to the north-east Borno state. The forced returns violate the non-refoulement principle and are a significant setback to progress made by Cameroon in granting asylum to Nigerian civilians fleeing violence, the UN Refugee Agency said.
The devastation of the nine-year-long conflict runs deep. Since 2013, more than a thousand children have been abducted by armed groups in north-east Nigeria, according to UNICEF. Nearly 2,300 teachers have been killed and more than 1,400 schools destroyed, most of which have not reopened because of extensive damage or insecurity. Unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices littering many localities in north-east Nigeria is claiming many civilian lives. In early March, an IED on a path killed six people out fetching firewood near their home in Dikwa in Borno. The Nigerian military has expressed worry over the proliferation of the explosives and difficulties in safely detonating them. Humanitarian actors continue to call for comprehensive demining across affected communities to ensure the safety of civilians, particularly farmers who have mostly been affected.
In Chad, populations continue to be affected by protection incidents and cases of gender-based violence. From January to April 2018, a total of 323 protection incidents were reported on 84 sites in Lac region, including violations of the right to property, violations of the right to life and physical integrity, sexual violence and violations of the right to freedom. Most of the protection incidents were reported in localities in border areas including Kaiga Kindjiria, Tchoukoutalia and Ngouboua.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.