Nigeria must protect refugee camps, NGO says after bombings

Lagos - Nigeria must step up security for those displaced by Boko Haram violence, a global humanitarian agency said on Wednesday after suicide bombers killed 28 people at the entrance to a refugee camp.

"Camps sheltering innocent families fleeing war should be places of refuge. But instead they are turning into death traps," said a statement by Ernest Mutanga, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Nigeria.

"We need to see the Nigerian government stepping up to protect civilians in displacement camps. It's their primary responsibility."

His remarks came after three female suicide bombers blew themselves up at the entrance to a camp for displaced people in Mandarari near Maiduguri in northeastern Borno state. Another 82 people were wounded.

"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," Mutanga said.

He said the insurgents had stepped up their attacks on "soft" targets, indicating there had been 190 security incidents involving civilians in the region last month - more than the total combined for May and June.

There was also "an increase in the number of attacks on sites sheltering displaced civilians," he said.

He said there had been two other attacks targeting the displaced in July which had killed eight people.

"Armed groups in this conflict are pushing people from one hell into another."

Rising insecurity was also hampering relief efforts in a region facing a dire humanitarian crisis.

"Northeast Nigeria is already experiencing a widespread food crisis, with food security experts forecasting a rise in the number of people facing crisis, emergency and famine conditions from 4.7 million to 5.2 million by the end of the month," he said.

The eight-year Boko Haram violence has killed at least 20 000 and forced some 2.6 million others to flee their homes.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 722 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 8501 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
10% - 1016 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.