Tens of thousands of new refugees have arrived in Niger in the last four months to escape attacks by armed groups in neighbouring countries. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is concerned by these rising numbers as attacks on civilians prompting displacement increase in both frequency and violence.
From January to mi-April 2022, Niger registered more than 36,000 new arrivals from Nigeria, Mali and Burkina Faso – an average of more than 2,500 new arrivals every week. “I’m afraid that we will be getting regular influxes into Niger for as long as there is trouble in the countries surrounding us,” said Emmanuel Gignac, UNHCR’s Representative in Niger. “It is imperative that we, as UNHCR, and our partners develop and maintain a very strong emergency response capacity.”
The new arrivals from Mali are fleeing fighting between the EIGS (Etat Islamique au Grand Sahara) and the MSA (Mouvement pour le Salut de l’Azawad) in the Gao and Menaka regions. Nigerian refugees are fleeing increased looting, expropriation of property, assault and kidnapping by armed bandits in the states of Katsina and Sokoto, in the northwest of their country, while displacement from Burkina Faso is caused by ongoing and spreading insecurity.