At least 23 killed in Niger aid stampede – officials

Nigerian refugees returning from the Republic of Niger are helped into a vehicle to be transported back home by personnel from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) at a transit camp in Geidam, Yobe, Nigeria, 13 May 2015. The Nigerian refugees are returning after they fled to Niger following the onslaught of Islamic militant attacks by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria. NEMA has thus far registered a total of 11,449 Nigerian returnees from the Republic of Niger and transported aproximately 7,000 of them back to their homes in various Nigerian states. EPA/STR

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, Feb 17 (Reuters) - At least 23 people died in a stampede as Nigerian refugees rushed to get food and clothes in a community centre just over the border in Niger on Monday, officials said.

The refugees were queuing to get supplies in the town of Diffa, Nigerian regional officials told Reuters.

The area is home to almost 250,000 displaced people, according to the United Nations. Many of them have fled attacks by Boko Haram Islamist militants and other armed groups in northeast Nigeria.

Boko Haram has been fighting for a decade to carve out an Islamist caliphate and has staged regular raids into neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon, killing thousands. (Reporting by Lanre Ola in Maiduguri and Boureima Balima in Niamey, writing by Anna Pujol-Mazzini, editing by Andrew Heavens)


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