In southwestern Niger, the town of Tillabéri has been hosting more than 11,000 displaced persons who were driven from their villages by armed groups. On Tuesday, the Minister of the Interior visited them. Alkasha Alhada promised them that they would be able to return home very soon to cultivate their fields, under the protection of the security forces.
The rains are approaching, and with them, planting time in the Anzourou region. Minister Alkasha Alhada promised the thousands of displaced people, mostly women, who were welcomed with their children in Tillabéri, that they would be escorted by the security forces to return home and to cultivate their fields in complete safety.
“They are going to be accompanied by defense and security forces to take them there…but not only: the forces will stay on site to ensure their safety.”
The convoys will have to respect the will of the displaced to return or not, according to the Kampala Convention, ratified by Niger, said Alpha Diallo, head of the ICRC delegation in Tillabéri.
“The return must be voluntary, in acceptable security conditions. IDPs who do not wish to return to their areas of origin should not be forced to return. In this case, a durable solution such as local integration or resettlement should be offered.”
Whether they stay in Tillabéri or return home, the displaced will still need food aid until harvest time as their granaries have been burned by armed groups.