ICC Note: Those seeking refuge from the Syrian civil war in Europe have been consistently welcomed by large swaths of humanitarian aid and support. For those in West Africa fleeing persecution and death at the hands of the Islamic terror group Boko Haram, they are welcomed with only despair and menial aid. Once they enter the countless displacement camps in the Lake Chad region, they do not fully escape the threat of death at the hands of Jihadists. Suicide attacks have increased along the border and in these very displacement camps targeting those inside who have been predominately Christian refugees. The Ekkliziyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria church (EYN) has over one million members but have lost over 8,000 to the violence and over 700,000 have been displaced.
11/12/2015 Nigeria (World Watch Monitor) – A special report by IRIN, built on field visits to Nigeria’s north-eastern region which the military has re-taken from the Boko Haram insurgency, reveals an unprecedented humanitarian disaster in the Lake Chad Basin region.
In Europe, Syrian refugees with the means head for their country of choice, armies of aid workers and volunteers helping them along much of the way. In West Africa, Nigerians displaced by Boko Haram have relatively little help and find refuge where they can, IRIN says in its Nov. 2 report, “Fleeing Boko Haram: Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide”.
Some walk hundreds of miles, crossing the border into neighboring Chad, Niger or Cameroon. The majority remains as internally displaced people in Nigeria, reliant on the kindness of friends or extended family to get by, or crowded in schools converted into unsanitary camps.
The US-backed and UK-based IRIN, originally named Integrated Regional Information Networks, was until this year part of the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and reports on humanitarian aid around the world.
It reports that more than 25,000 people have lost their lives in the past six years, and more than 2.5 million others have been displaced in the Lake Chad Basin region since May 2013 – around four times the number of migrants and refugees that have arrived in Europe so far this year.
Many of the displaced are Christians: for instance, 178 out of the kidnapped Chibok School girls are members of the Church of the Brethren, or Ekkliziyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN). EYN, based mainly in the northern part of the country, is the Church worst affected by the insurgency. Boko Haram has almost wiped it out of existence in many areas of Borno, in part of Yobe, and in Adamawa, the three most affected states in Northern Nigeria.