İrem UZUN -TDO- (18.02.2020)- At least 20 Nigerian refugees were killed in a stampede on Monday during a donation drive in southeastern Niger, multiple sources confirmed. "The incident occurred when the governor of Borno State [Nigeria] was distributing rice, loincloths and cash to refugees from his country who are temporarily based in Diffa city," Mahamadou Mado, a local journalist told Anadolu Agency. A security source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media, also confirmed the incident and the death toll.
Refugees from neighboring Nigeria were queuing for food and money in the town of Diffa when the incident took place, according to local sources. The region is home to around 120,000 people displaced by years of violence carried out by Boko Haram militants in northeastern Nigeria. The governor of Borno had come to the region to visit camps for refugees and the displaced, and had already left the town when the stampede occurred.
"They were distributing food and money - 5,000 Naira ($13.75, 12.7 euros) per person," a local resident told, referring to Nigeria's national currency. "Thousands of people, most of them refugees, heard about the handout and left the camps, sometimes travelling up to 100 kilometres (60 miles) to get to Diffa," the source said. "As soon as the first people received their rations, the compressed crowd started to get excited, the organizers were swiftly overwhelmed and then it all kicked off - women, children and the fit ones started to push," the employee said. "The weakest people fell to the ground. Some were injured and others were crushed to death." The emergency services arrived swiftly, taking wounded people to local treatment centers, while bodies were taken to the morgue of the nearby Diffa hospital.