The UN warned on Sunday that nearly 600,000 people were facing the threat of food security when the Tillaberi region of the West African nation of Niger was exposed to a “major food crisis”.
The large region of about the same size as South Korea or Hungary borders the so-called three-border area, an unstable zone where Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali meet and which has been affected by violence since 2017.
“Insecurity and recurring attacks by suspected members of non-governmental armed groups (NSAGs) targeting farmers and civilians will have serious repercussions this year on the already precarious food situation,” warned the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in a report sent to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Nearly 600,000 people “risk food security,” the agency said.
The food crisis spectrum has been triggered by “abandonment of crops and difficulties in accessing markets,” the agency said.
“Those who dared to go to the fields were killed, they (the attackers) track us in our huts and even in the mosques,” said Hadjia Sibti, president of the Women’s Union of Anzourou, a city often attacked. AFP in September.
The UN also warned of the situation in the Banibangou branch northeast of Tillaberi, where more than 79,000 people are likely to run out of food.
Between June and August 2021, “dozens of peasants” in Banibangou were killed “cold in their fields” by non-governmental armed groups, forcing the population to “abandon their fields”, UNOCHA noted.
As of August 31, approximately 765,348 people had received humanitarian aid in the Tillaberi region, which is also home to 101,144 internally displaced persons, says UNOCHA.
But the UN fears a “major food crisis” in this region and called on the government and its partners to take “strong action in line with the scale of the situation”.