GENEVA – The United Nations refugee agency says victims of a suspected Boko Haram terror attack on an IDP camp in Cameroon’s Far North region remain unprotected and in need of urgent help. At least 18 people were killed and 11 others injured.
The camp housing 800 internally displaced people was attacked early Sunday. Militant jihadists reportedly threw a grenade into the compound while people were sleeping.
The U.N. refugee agency says it is outraged by this brutal, unprovoked attack and condemns it in the strongest terms. UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch tells VOA that Nigeria-based terror group Boko Haram is suspected of being behind the attack.
“In Cameroon, since early this year, more than 87 attacks have been recorded, which are attributed to Boko Haram. It has affected millions of people in the region and only in this area of Cameroon, there are more than 320,000 people displaced,” he said.
This latest attack near the village of Nguetchewe follows an upsurge of violence in Cameroon’s Far North Region, including looting and kidnapping. Civilians in this area, which covers Chad and north-east Nigeria, have been at the mercy of Boko Haram and other armed groups for years.
Baloch says the attack on the IDP camp has caused some 1,500 people, including terrified residents of the hosting village, to flee to a nearby town for safety. He says the UNHCR is sending an emergency mission to assess the situation and evaluate the protection and health needs of those affected.
“Against the backdrop of growing insecurity, UNHCR anticipates enhanced protection, shelter, water and sanitation will be needed as the country responds to the COVID-19 pandemic… Access a uge issue for humanitarians in this region in terms of providing humanitarian support,” said Baloch.
The U.N. says Boko Haram violence in the Lake Chad Basin region has cost the lives of 30,000 people, displaced more than three million and forced nearly 300,000 Nigerians to seek refuge in neighboring countries.