UNHCR’s Grandi: Failures behind Nigeria IDP camp tragedy must be identified
18 January 2017
Displaced people at Bakassi camp in Maiduguri, Nigeria, during a recent visit by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in December 2016. © UNHCR/Simi Vijay
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi today expressed his shock at a bombing on a site for internally displaced people in north-east Nigeria that left dozens of people dead, and stressed the need for the Nigerian authorities to urgently identify the failings that led to the tragedy.
Initial reports from the Rann site in Borno state’s Kala Balge area say that more than 50 people were killed, including six aid workers, when the attack took place on Tuesday morning during a food distribution. The Rann site was set up in March 2016 and hosts 43,000 people who fled their homes over the past two years to escape insurgency.
“This has been a truly catastrophic event. Lives have been lost, and this in a designated site for the displaced,” Grandi said. “A full accounting has to take place so that the causes are known and measures can be put in place to ensure this never happens again.”
The Nigerian government has said the bombing was an accident and is launching an investigation. Many of the more than 1.7 million internally displaced people as well as humanitarian agencies continue to face safety challenges due to continuing clashes between government security forces and insurgents in north-east Nigeria. Humanitarian access to Rann has been difficult due to insecurity and bad roads.
Grandi visited Borno during a visit last month to Nigeria and Lake Chad Basin countries hosting Nigerian refugees. He was moved by the suffering of displaced people that he met during his visit and vowed UNHCR’s continuing help.
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