Nigeria Situation: UNHCR Regional Update (1 - 30 November 2018)
- 231,504 Nigerian refugees displaced in Cameroon, Chad and Niger due to insurgency as of 30 November 2018
- 2,477,417 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and north-east Nigeria due to insurgency as of 31 October 2018 (or latest figures available)
USD 163.5 M
requested for the Nigeria situation (Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, including support costs) Funded 33%
Funding gap 67%
The year 2018 looked to be distinctly promising in the fight against Boko Haram around the Lake Chad Basin (LCB) countries Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. Poignantly, incidents in recent months witnessed an upsurge in deadly attacks by insurgents on both military and civilian targets, despite claims by Nigeria and its allies that Boko Haram is on the verge of defeat.
Reported incursions on 19 November in Metele village of Guzamala Local Government Area (LGA) in Borno State, Nigeria, suggest insurgents overran the 157 Task Force Battalion killing many soldiers. Conflicting reports put the number of casualties between 40 and 100 killed. The upsurge in the attacks has had head of states making up the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) meet in N'Djamena on 28 November to discuss ways of curbing the persistent threat. The nine-year extremist rebellion has claimed more than 20,000 lives and forced more than 2 million to flee their homes internally and some 230,000 Nigerians across borders. This situation has since sparked a dire humanitarian crisis inside Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The MNJTF comprising Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, was set up in 2015 to fight and dislodge the Islamists in the LCB region.
A decrease in the attacks was noted in Cameroon during November. The Cameroonian forces mounted military interventions and made several arrests of suspected insurgents during the month. Despite these strides, two causalities and at least 29 injured were reported following a 28 November detonation of an explosive by a female bomber in Amchide, a village along the Cameroon-Nigeria border and 2.6 km from Banki, Borno state of Nigeria. Another female bomber was reportedly killed before her explosives were detonated. Mostly women are target recruits for suicide missions due to their vulnerabilities. The security situation remained relatively calm in Chad. The threat of insurgency however remains high. On 9 November, 31 fishermen suspected to be Boko Haram operatives were arrested by the defence and security forces (FDS) and immediately transferred to Bol Detention Centre, 152 km north of N’Djamena. Their arrest took place in Litri village, N’gouboua, a village in the Lac region, on the north-eastern shore of Lake Chad.
Niger endured multiple Boko Haram attacks against Forces de Défense et de Sécurité (FDS) near the Niger- Nigeria border. Incursions also targeted civilians. On 22 November, 8 FORACO mineral drillers were reportedly killed by armed assailants with Boko Haram ties in Toumour, located 70 km Southeast of Diffa. Another six were wounded, including a Nigerian refugee. The attackers made off with two company vehicles.
At least 19 girls were abducted by alleged Boko Haram extremists in Diffa on 24 November. Nine were abducted from the Boulahardé village, seven from Bagué village and the remaining three from Bagi Majari village. On 25 November, two girls abducted in Bagué managed to escape.
In 2018, prospects for facilitated returns of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon, Chad and Niger and IDPs in Nigeria were dashed by the ongoing attacks by Boko Haram. The slow rebuilding of the ebbed social service facilities and local economies in north-east Nigeria have also prevented the return of the displaced Nigerians within and from across borders. In March 2017, Nigeria, Cameroon and UNHCR signed a Tripartite Agreement in Yaoundé to facilitate returns. The Yaoundé Agreement, as well as the September 2018 Borno State Return Strategy which set minimum conditions, meant to ensure principled returns and prevent the refoulement of refugees in asylum countries and forced returns of IDPs within Nigeria.
Cameroon, Chad and Niger share 231,504 Nigerian refugees while Nigeria struggles to support more than 2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). Nigeria is also home to the more than 30,000 Cameroonian refugees. Cameroon hosts 267,813 refugees from Central Africa Republic (CAR) and 101,404 from Nigeria. Chad, apart from sheltering 337,715 Sudanese refugees, also hosts 11,319 Nigerians and 101,178 refugees from CAR. The world’s poorest nation, Niger, is dealing with a mixed situation of displaced and refugee populations. It hosts 118,781 Nigerians, 57,300 refugees from Mali and 156,136 IDPs in Diffa, Tillaberi and Tahoua Regions.
The social-service facilities in the three countries continue to be under-funded because of the ongoing fight against Boko Haram, making humanitarian aid alone insufficient to address some of the essential needs. With the generous funding by our traditional donors, in 2018, UNHCR sought financial needs totalling USD 163.5 Million of which only USD 53.65 Million has been funded by this November.
The four countries are, meanwhile, embroiled in the fight against Boko Haram for nearly ten years now, spending more resources to defeat the extremists, a persistent security threat in the Lake Chad Basin region. LCB countries reportedly spend between USD 250 Million to USD 2 Billion to raise and maintain the fighting forces to defeat Boko Haram. The conflict disadvantages the already struggling economies as it also slows the rebuilding of the much-needed social service facilities destroyed by Boko Haram.