An estimated 30,000 Nigerians fled a town in their West African nation over the weekend in search of safety in neighboring Cameroon, according to the United Nations refugee agency. They fled the northeast border town of Rann amid mounting violence from a Boko Haram insurgency.
"With more 250,000 children, women and men already uprooted from northeast Nigeria, surging militant attacks are targeting civilians and forcing thousands more to run for their lives each day," the refugee agency, UNHCR, said Tuesday.
The Associated Press reports that refugees started escaping to Cameroon several weeks ago when Boko Haram captured Rann, which was hosting people who were internally displaced by the Boko Haram conflict, according to Amnesty International. The town is located in Nigeria's Borno state, where more than 80,000 people have sought refuge in towns and camps as violence in the region has escalated, UNHCR said.
Thousands have also recently fled to Chad.
UNHCR said $848 million is needed to provide basics like water and shelter to the most vulnerable people inside Nigeria. It is also seeking $135 million to help displaced people across the Lake Chad Basin region, where nearly 2.4 million people in total have been displaced due to Boko Haram's insurgency, which started in 2009 in Nigeria.
"Although the Nigerian military has regained control in parts of the country's north-east, civilians in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger continue to be affected by grave violations of human rights, widespread sexual and gender-based violence, forced recruitment and suicide bombings," UNHCR said.
Amnesty International's Nigeria director said earlier this month that the situation in Rann "shows how vulnerable internally displaced persons are in Nigeria and the need to do more to protect them."