3,000 Nigerians escaping Boko Haram deported from Niger
Niger troops have deported more than 3,000 Nigerian fishermen and refugees escaping Boko Haram, forcing them to undertake a brutal three-day trek in which at least a dozen people have died, an official and witnesses said on Wednesday.
The refugees said they were compelled to return to Nigeria after Boko Haram last week attacked an island in Lake Chad.
The Nigerians said soldiers arrived at the fishing village of Lelewa and ordered them to leave. Niger officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
On Monday, Niger said it was planning a military operation in the area to rout Boko Haram extremists and ordered its citizens to move further inland.
Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency said it was alerted by Niger and sent trucks to collect the exhausted refugees at the border.
The agency's Charles Otegbabe, director of search and rescue, registered the
new arrivals in Gaidam town, in the
northeastern Borno state.
"We thought there would be about 2,000, but we have already registered more than 3,000, and there are still more people
coming," he told the Associated Press.
The refugees said hundreds more were on their way.