‘Displaced people in Nigeria have become fresh targets by terrorists…’ – NRC claims
NIGERIA- In a recent report from the Norwegian Refugee Council, dozens of people were reportedly killed yesterday, 15th of August, when multiple suicide bombers detonated devises outside a camp sheltering displaced people in Borno State. This becomes more worrisome as attacks on civilians sheltering in displacement sites are on the rise, thus, worsening an already dire situation for people on the brink of famine in northeast Nigeria.
‘Camps like the one attacked yesterday sheltering displaced women and children are being indiscriminately targeted. Towns we previously considered safe for civilians are also under attack,’ said Ernest Mutanga, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)’s head of programmes in Nigeria. “As the government’s military offensive intensifies, armed groups seem to be looking for softer targets like places where civilians are sheltering.”
On the record, 190 security incidents were reported in July in northeast Nigeria. This, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council, was substantially more than the total combined for May and June. There is a sharp increase in the number of attacks on sites sheltering displaced civilians.
Learning from feeds from the Norwegian Refugee Council, on the 23rd of July, a suicide bomber killed three people and injured 17 others in a displacement (IDP) camp in Borno State. The same day, another suspected female suicide bomber was shot dead by the military as she tried to climb a perimeter wall surrounding an IDP camp.
Many of such sight of awful killings have been horrible to imagine. Five days earlier on 28 July, five people were reportedly killed and six wounded in Dikwa town when two suicide bombers detonated explosives in an area sheltering displaced families. Dikwa town was previously considered safe from the time the Nigerian military took control of it a year ago.
As against belief and expectations, ‘Camps sheltering innocent families fleeing war should be places of refuge. But instead they are turning into death traps, Mutanga rightly puts. Adding that, Armed groups in this conflict are pushing people from one hell into another.’
No doubt, insecurity is hampering the humanitarian response. According to Mutanga, the world “need to see the Nigerian government stepping up to protect civilians in displacement camps.”
As aid organizations, world over, prepare to mark World Humanitarian Day this week on 19 August, the Norwegian Refugee Council calls the attention of the world to better protect civilians targeted in conflict.
Correspondent: Ridwan A Olayiwola