No fewer than 35,000 Nigerians have fled to Cameroon to become refugees in recent weeks following the escalation of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, Médecins Sans Frontières has claimed.

MSF, also called Doctors Without Borders, in a statement said the latest migration followed an increase in violence around Rann in Borno State.

According to the statement, many of the Nigerian refugees in the Cameroonian village of Goura urgently need food, shelter and water.

The MSF said it had launched an emergency response to take care of the refugees.

The statement quoted MSF’s deputy programme manager for emergencies Dr Silas Moussa as saying, “They (refugees) left on foot very early in the morning — women, children and elderly people.

“When they fled, they had to leave elderly and sick relatives behind. They brought along what possessions they could, but in Goura they have nothing to drink and nowhere to sleep. They have been left to fend for themselves.”

The statement added, “The refugees have been staying in a large, informal camp in Goura since late January. Most are sleeping in the open, even though it is sandstorm season and the temperature drops sharply at night.

“The uncertainty surrounding whether these refugees will be resettled or returned to Nigeria prevents humanitarian assistance from being as complete and effective as it should be.”

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