Tens of thousands of people have fled a town in the troubled southeastern Niger following deadly attacks by Takfiri Boko Haram terrorist group, the UN refugee agency says.
Adrian Edwards, the spokesman for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday that some 50,000 people fled the town of Bosso in the country’s troubled Diffa region near the Nigerian border.
The spokesman noted that most of those fleeing the violence walked toward the village of Toumour, which is located some 30 kilometers west of Bosso. “Many people are reportedly traumatized and worried about their safety,” he said.
The UN sources say people are sleeping in the open and urgently need shelter and other assistance.
Boko Haram militants first took the town of Bosso on Friday in an attack in which 30 soldiers from Niger and two from Nigeria were killed. A total of 55 militants from the Nigeria-based militant group were also killed during the fierce fighting.
The terrorists reportedly torched military barracks, police facilities and looted shops during the terror campaign in the town. The ambush and looting came as Niger’s army was preparing to attack Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region, which straddles Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
UN figures show that the violence by Boko Haram militants have displaced more than 240,000 people across the Diffa region over past months.
The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recently said that more than nine million people living in the Lake Chad region are in dire need of food aid, blaming Boko Haram for triggering the unrest in the area.
Regional countries have created a joint military force that plays a key role in helping Nigeria fight the terrorist group. Back in February, the four littoral nations of Lake Chad launched a military campaign, together with a contingent from Benin, to confront the threat from Boko Haram militants in the region.
The Boko Haram terrorist group, which has pledged allegiance to the Daesh Takfiri militant group, has killed thousands of people, mostly civilians, since it launched its terrorist activities in Nigeria in 2009. The Takfiri militant group has intensified its campaign of terror since President Mohammadu Buhari came to power in the African country in May 2015.