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AFP
April 17, 2021

65,000 flee attacks on northeast Nigeria town: UN

World

AFP
April 17, 2021

ABUJA: As many as 65,000 people have fled the northeastern Nigeria town of Damasak following a series of jihadist attacks, the UN refugee agency said on Friday.

Fighters from the so-called Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) stormed the town in Borno state three times in a week to strike a military garrison, burning homes and a UN office and killing at least 12 people.

In the latest violence on Wednesday, militants attacked the garrison before being forced back into the town itself, military sources and residents said. "Following the latest attack on Wednesday 14 April, the third in seven days, up to 80 percent of the town’s population -- which includes the local community and internally displaced people -- were forced to flee," UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said.

Some have fled towards the regional capital Maiduguri and other nearby towns while others have crossed the border into Niger’s Diffa region, itself vulnerable to jihadist violence.

"Due to insecurity, however, humanitarian access is increasingly challenging in many parts of Nigeria’s Borno State, including for UNHCR staff, who were forced to temporarily relocate out of Damasak in the past seven days," the UNHCR said.