The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Friday said it is “deeply concerned” as up to 65,000 people are on the move following a series of attacks in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state.

According to initial reports, eight people were killed and a dozen others injured in the attacks.

After the latest attack on Wednesday, the third in a week, by armed groups in Borno’s Damasak town, “up to 80 per cent of the town’s population —which includes the local community and internally displaced people— were forced to flee,” UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch said in a statement.

The displaced persons include Nigerians as well as Niger nationals living in the region, Baloch said.

“Assailants looted and burned down private homes, warehouses of humanitarian agencies, a police station, a clinic, and a UNHCR Protection Desk,” he added

While many fled towards Borno State’s capital Maiduguri, and to neighboring Yobe State’s Geidam town, others crossed abroad into Niger’s Diffa region.

The UNHCR spokesman said that humanitarian access “is increasingly challenging in many parts of Nigeria’s Borno State, including for UNHCR staff, who were forced to temporarily relocate out of Damasak this week.”

He stressed that the UNHCR’s staff members, despite the challenges, stand ready to help the newly displaced people that they can reach.

Armed groups in Africa’s Sahel and Lake Chad regions have been fueling one of the world’s fastest-growing displacements and protection crises in the world in recent years.

Some 3.3 million people have been displaced by violence in the Lake Chad Basin, according to the UNHCR.

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