22,000 Nigerians missing due to insurgency–Red Cross
NEWS DIGEST–AT least 22,000 people are missing as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) made this known in a statement on Thursday.
It said that nearly 22,000 Nigerians constituted the highest number of missing persons registered with the organisation in any country.
“Every parent’s worst nightmare is not knowing where their child is. This is the tragic reality for thousands of Nigerian parents, leaving them with the anguish of a constant search,” ICRC President Peter Maurer said at the end of a five-day visit to Nigeria.
“People have the right to know the fate of their loved ones, and more needs to be done to prevent families from being separated in the first place,” he said.
During the visit, Maurer met with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, senior government officials, civil society and business leaders.
The Red Cross said that some families were often separated while fleeing attacks, while others have had loved ones abducted or detained and do not know their whereabouts.
“The ICRC works with the Nigeria Red Cross and other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in the region to trace missing people by showing photographs, calling out names and going door-to-door in camps and communities,” the statement said.
“So far, 367 cases have been solved since ICRC received its first cases in 2013, underscoring the immense challenges that come with finding missing people and reconnecting them with their families in Nigeria,” it said.
Nigerian army chief Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai on Tuesday said that the military had done a lot in the war against the insurgents, but admitted that humanitarian efforts were being hampered.
“Large swathes of the northeast of the country remain completely inaccessible to humanitarian organisations. People have also been displaced by fighting many times, making them harder to find,” he added.