IDP News Alert, 25 March 2013

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Pakistan: Deadly attack on Pakistan’s most vulnerable kills 15, amidst flight of over 40,000

At least 15 internally displaced people (IDPs) were killed and dozens more injured when a car bomb exploded in Jalozai IDP camp, near Peshawar in north-west Pakistan, on 21 March. An aid worker was also reported amongst the dead.

UNHCR condemned the incident, and called on Pakistani authorities to ensure improved security at the camp, which once sheltered Afghan refugees. Jalozai is now the largest of the Pakistan’s three IDP camps and is home to 12,500 families, or 60,000 people who moved there to escape violence in their villages.

In recent months, the conflict between non-state armed groups and the Pakistan military in the Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) has worsened. According to the Government's FATA Disaster Management Authority, over 40,000 people were displaced last week alone. Many headed for Jalozai camp in search of protection and assistance. While attacks on IDP camps in Pakistan are extremely rare, media reports suggest the recent attack may have been linked to security operations against the non-state armed groups in the Tirah region.

Local sectarian and tribal conflicts as well as militant Islamic insurgency have caused major displacement in Pakistan’s volatile north-western region for at least eight years. Only 10 per cent of Pakistan’s 758,000 registered IDPs currently live in camps, with the vast majority choosing to live with relatives or in rented accommodation.

For more information, see IDMC’s country page for Pakistan.