UN concern over ‘forced return’ of Nigerian refugees to Boko Haram-hit region

LAGOS Tens of thousands of Nigerian refugees are being forced to return to a remote town repeatedly attacked by Boko Haram, despite lacking security, food, water and shelter, aid agencies said.

The United Nations said some 20,000 refugees had returned to Rann from Cameroon on Thursday, taking the numbers who have now gone back to 30,000.

Rann is some 175 kilometres northeast of Borno state capital Maiduguri � the epicentre of the decade-long insurgency that has killed more than 27,000.

Reports from sources on the ground indicate that these people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, including shelter, food and safe water, a UN briefing note said.

There were also questions about whether the returns complied with international law on refugees, which require returns to be voluntary.