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World Niger stampede kills 20 at handout for refugees

05:35  18 february  2020
05:35  18 february  2020 Source:   msn.com

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The region which abuts Nigeria and Chad has been repeatedly hit by attacks by Nigeria 's Boko Haram jihadist group since 2015. He had come to the region to visit camps for refugees and the displaced, and had already left the town when the stampede occurred.

At least 20 people, many of them women and children, were trampled to death on Monday in a stampede for food and money for refugees in southeast Niger "Thousands of people, most of them refugees , heard about the handout and left the camps, sometimes travelling up to 100km to get to

Fifteen women and five children were trampled to death on Monday in a stampede for food and money for refugees in southeast Niger, a regional governor said.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Hundreds of thousands of people in Diffa, southeastern Niger, depend on food handouts to survive© ISSOUF SANOGO Hundreds of thousands of people in Diffa, southeastern Niger, depend on food handouts to survive

The accident occurred at a youth and culture centre in Diffa, the main town of a region of the same name that hosts more than a quarter of a million refugees and internally displaced people.

"Unfortunately, fifteen women and five children died... in this regrettable drama," Issa Lemine, the regional governor of Diffa, said on television after visiting the injured in hospital.

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At least 20 people, many of them women and children, have been killed in a stampede in south-eastern Niger , reports say. Refugees from neighbouring Nigeria were queuing for food and money in the town of Diffa when the incident took place, according to local sources.

It hosts 119,000 Nigerian refugees , 109,000 internally-displaced people, and 30,000 Nigeriens who have come home from Nigeria because of the instability in its He had come to the region to visit the camps for refugees and the displaced, and had already left the town when the stampede occurred.

Aid workers confirmed the death toll and said about 10 people had been injured.

The region which abuts Nigeria and Chad has been repeatedly hit by attacks by Nigeria's Boko Haram jihadist group since 2015.

It hosts 119,000 Nigerian refugees, 109,000 internally-displaced people and 30,000 Nigeriens who have come home from Nigeria because of the instability in its northeast, according to UN figures released in October.

The aid being distributed had been given by Babagana Umara Zulum, the governor of Borno state in northeast Nigeria, a Nigerian official told AFP.

He had come to the region to visit camps for refugees and the displaced, and had already left the town when the stampede occurred.

- Crowd -

A large amount of food, cooking oil and clothing, as well as money, was due to be distributed, a Diffa municipal worker told AFP.

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Niger stampede kills 20 at handout for refugees . Agence-France Presse. Extraordinary new development after 'sad' Bernard Tomic drama.

"Thousands of people were in the courtyard of the MJC (Culture and Youth Centre) and nearby," he said.

"As soon as the first people received their rations, the compressed crowd started to get excited, the organisers were swiftly overwhelmed and then it all kicked off -- women, children and the fit ones started to push," the employee said.

a close up of text on a white background: Niger© AFP Niger

"The weakest people fell to the ground. Some were injured and others were crushed to death."

A local resident told AFP that aid workers were distributing 5,000 naira ($13.75, 12.7 euros), referring to Nigeria's national currency.

Diffa governor Lemine said a successful distribution had taken place on Sunday.

"Thousands of people, most of them refugees, heard about the handout and left the camps, sometimes travelling up to 100 kilometres (60 miles) to get to Diffa," the source said.

A local official said he was astonished at the situation: "Normally, people who are entitled to the handouts send a representative to Diffa to pick it up. But this time, the refugees themselves decided to come and get it, travelling dozens of kilometres (miles)."

Another resident said: "Even ordinary inhabitants of Diffa rushed there in the hope of getting the handout."

A local journalist said the emergency services arrived swiftly, taking wounded people to local treatment centres, while bodies were taken to the morgue of the nearby Diffa hospital.

- Floods -

Zulum visited three sites housing more than 100,000 Nigerian refugees -- camps at Bosso, Garin-Wazan and Toummour.

In addition to a crisis sparked by jihadist violence, Diffa is also battling floods caused by the Yobe River, which delineates part of Niger's border with Nigeria.

The floods have left more than 20,000 people without shelter, according to the local authorities.

They have also devastated rice and pepper fields, whose harvests provide the backbone of the local economy.

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