Thousands flee Nigerian city into Cameroon fearing militant attack: UNHCR

GENEVA (Reuters) - Around 30,000 people fled into Cameroon at the weekend from the Nigerian city of Rann, fearing an attack by Boko Haram militants, the U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday

Reuters January 30, 2019 00:07:28 IST
Thousands flee Nigerian city into Cameroon fearing militant attack: UNHCR

Thousands flee Nigerian city into Cameroon fearing militant attack UNHCR

GENEVA (Reuters) - Around 30,000 people fled into Cameroon at the weekend from the Nigerian city of Rann, fearing an attack by Boko Haram militants, the U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday.

UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told a regular U.N. briefing in Geneva that the exodus followed the departure of Cameroonian forces who had moved to secure the city, following an attack by Boko Haram on Rann on Jan. 14.

"Because Cameroon is part of the Multi-National Joint Task Force, their military went in to secure Rann. So it was ... peaceful (for a while) but as far as we understand now, that Multi-National Task Force has left," Baloch said.

Two security sources said Nigerian soldiers had been overrun by the initial attack on Jan. 14, and the Nigerian military had abandoned Rann again after the multi-national force left because they did not have enough men, equipment or weapons to defend it.

Refugees reported that Boko Haram had promised to return to the city, which originally had an estimated population of about 80,000, Baloch said.

"So all the population seems to be panicking and they are on the run as a pre-emptive measure to save their lives," Baloch said. "This is quite worrying and alarming."

Boko Haram returned on Monday and entered Rann unopposed, burned down part of a camp and left again, the security sources said.

“The Nigerian soldiers fled camp and everyone is escaping to Cameroon," said Midjiyawa Bakary, governor of the Extreme North region.

"We do not repel them, that would be suicidal. They are welcome. All the refugees are taken in charge by humanitarian (authorities)… We are communicating with UNHCR in Cameroon and Nigeria, working hand in hand to take these refugees in charge, guarantee their security and alleviate their suffering.”

Immediately after the Jan. 14 attack, 9,000 people fled into Cameroon but they were refused asylum and sent back to Nigeria by Cameroonian authorities, UNHCR has said previously.

It was not clear how many people were left in Rann, Baloch said.

(Reporting by Tom Miles in Geneva, Paul Carsten in Abuja and Josiane Kouagheu in Douala; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Ed Osmond)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.