18 June 2013 The United Nations refugee agency today reported that the ongoing crisis in north-eastern Nigeria is continuing to send people fleeing to Niger and now to Cameroon amid the insecurity resulting from confrontations between the army and insurgents.
The Nigerian Government imposed a state of emergency on the Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states in the north-east of the country in May. In recent weeks, anti-insurgent operations and general insecurity have uprooted thousands of people, with more than 6,000 already having fled to Niger for safety.
A team from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that visited the area along Cameroon’s border with Nigeria reported the presence of over 3,000 Nigerians.
“Crossings of Nigerians into Cameroon began a week ago, with people telling us they had fled a confrontation between the Nigerian army and Boko Haram insurgents some 10 kilometres from the border,” UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards told reporters in Geneva.
“Most of those who have arrived so far are women and children,” he added. “They are being hosted in churches and schools, and relying on food from the churches and local population.
“We are working with the authorities to relocate the refugees to safer places away from the border.”
Meanwhile, the agency has sent aid by trucks from Niamey, Niger’s capital, to the south-eastern Diffa region, where the over 6,000 people that arrived in recent weeks are currently staying.
Mats, blankets, jerry cans, soaps, buckets, mosquito nets and kitchen items have been pre-positioned in Diffa, Bosso, Kablewa and Menesewa and will be distributed to both Nigerian refugees and Nigerien returnees, Mr. Edwards stated.
“People are still arriving in Niger,” he noted. “At the same time, our teams observed that some displaced persons from Nigeria are returning home after a few days in Niger or shuttling between the two countries depending on the security situation in Nigeria,” he added.
Mr. Edwards said there have been no further arrivals of Nigerians in Chad beyond the 155 received last week. “There, the border is officially closed,” he noted.
The Association of Displaced Persons and Refugees has described 2013 as “the worst for Darfur camps”, as record numbers of displaced struggle in abysmal conditions throughout the region.
“In terms of the deterioration of security, economy, living conditions, and high influx rates of newly displaced people, our assessment shows that this year has been the worst so far,” the spokesman for the Association, Hussein Abu Sharati, told Radio Dabanga.
“The situation requires international organisations and those working in the humanitarian rights field to move urgently to provide relief, humanitarian aid and security in Darfur,” he stressed.
Abu Sharati appealed via Radio Dabanga to the international community to provide security and food for displaced people, especially the newly displaced ones.
Reports that reached Radio Dabanga on Monday exemplify the situation. Sheikh Mahjoub Adam Tabeldiya of El Salam camp in Nyala says that militiamen has surrounded the camp for the second consecutive day. “On Monday, they intercepted displaced people coming from Nyala. They beat Jabir Yousuf Ahmed and Aldouma Adam and then stole their property, including two donkeys and cell phones.”
Sheikh Tabeldiya told Radio Dabanga that members of the militia “fired into the air over the camp on Sunday evening using various kinds of weapons, which sparked terror and panic in the hearts of the displaced.”
The sheikh criticised an agreement reached by the displaced and the government regarding a night-time ceasefire at the camps. “Where is this ceasefire agreement reached in the presence of Unamid and the government? Unamid is failing to act to protect the displaced,” he said, appealing via Radio Dabanga to the State government and Unamid to take immediate action to extend security and put an end to the actions of the militias.
File photo by Albert González Farran/Unamid
Article source: http://www.radiodabanga.org/node/51860
The three countries known as the ‘Sudan Troika’ have released a combined statement expressing their concerns about the “heightened tensions” between the Khartoum and Juba governments.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, and US Secretary John Kerry, “are deeply concerned at the heightened tension between the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan.
“We call on both governments to comply fully with all of their September 27 agreements, including ceasing any support to rebel movements in each other’s territories and withdrawing their forces fully from the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone,” the statement reads.
It points out that the Government of Sudan’s announcement that it intends to stop the flow of South Sudanese oil transported via Sudan’s pipeline is in contravention of these agreements: “We urge the Government of Sudan to reconsider its position and call on both governments to continue constructive dialogue on implementation of these agreements, especially on oil and security”.
The Troika reminds both sides of the commitment they made to a peaceful resolution of their disputes in signing the Addis Ababa agreements on 27 September 2012 and calls on them to “cease their increasingly hostile rhetoric”.
It underscores that “full implementation of all agreements, without conditionality, as well as progress on unresolved issues such as Abyei, presents the best path toward realising these goals”.
Eide, Hague and Kerry call on both governments to cease any interference in the internal affairs of the other state. “In particular, we condemn any military support being provided to rebel movements in Sudan or South Sudan. Such support is clearly in breach of both the spirit and the letter of the Addis agreements and should end immediately. We remind both governments that they committed under the Addis agreements to withdraw forces fully from the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone consistent with the African Union map which they have both accepted, and as called for by UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2046.”
The Troika reminds both governments the UNSC has “made a substantive commitment to support border security arrangements, by increasing the force levels of the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei for its participation in the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism. We urge both governments to resolve their concerns through the Joint Political Security Mechanism, the Petroleum Monitoring Committee and the other established bilateral mechanisms.”
The statement warns that abandoning internationally supported security mechanisms and unilaterally shutting-down the flow of oil “will have serious implications for the viability of both states”.
“We call on the two governments to recover their spirit of cooperation exhibited in past months and to commit to overcoming their differences. President Mbeki and the AU High-Level Implementation Panel have now proposed to the Heads of State practical measures to help the parties honour the commitments that they have already made to each other.”
The Troika concludes that it supports these next steps as “the only viable way forward” and “repeats its rejection of unilateral actions in word or deed that would damage our collective goal of lasting peace”.
Related: ‘Deeply concerned’ Sudan Troika urges continued constructive dialogue (14 June 2013)
Article source: http://www.radiodabanga.org/node/51866