The security situation across Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states continues to remain volatile. In September there were multiple attempts by non-state armed group (NSAG) operatives to infiltrate IDP camps, such as in Banki, in Bama LGA, and in Jere LGA, in Borno State.
There were at least 22 abduction in September, mostly targeting IDPs cultivating crops in their farmlands or fetching firewood for subsistence across locations such as MMC, Damboa, Mobbar (Damasak) and Ngala LGAs in Borno State.
In Adamawa State, organised criminal groups continued to target civilians and humanitarian actors; while in Yobe State, threats of NSAG attacks particularly in return communities in Gujba LGA remained high throughout September, causing panic among populations.
Critical challenges for affected people including lack of livelihood opportunities, food insecurity and inflated prices have increased tension across IDP camps and host communities, forcing affected and vulnerable populations to adopt negative coping mechanisms including transactional sex and street begging. The Borno State Government's plan to return IDPs to some LGAs witnessing escalating clashes and attacks raised concerns of safety and continued access of IDPs to critical assistance and services. Many of the areas listed for IDP relocation are still inaccessible to aid agencies due to ongoing insecurity.
In September, the Protection Sector stepped up advocacy with key actors, including state and local authorities, protection partners and other sectors, to ensure that affected people’s protection needs were highlighted and addressed. Protection partners also conducted a joint rapid assessment at Muna El Badawee camp in Jere LGA of Borno, where there was an influx of new arrivals following attacks in neighbouring locations.
Various assessments in September revealed that many IDPs wish to return to their areas of origin, providing certain conditions, particularly adequate security and provision of basic amenities, are met by authorities. The Sector engaged with protection actors to coordinate data collection regarding IDP return intentions and conditions in return areas. The Sector advocated, including with local authorities, donors and the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), for an inclusive process that involves inputs from IDP communities and protection actors for all relocation activities.
The Sector also facilitated high level meetings to present and articulate the position of the humanitarian community to ensure a principled and sustainable returns process. Discussions on the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) have been initiated, and the Protection Sector North-East (PSNE) is engaging with relevant partners on finalising indicators and People in Need (PiN) elements. The Sector also partook and contributed to the finalization of indicators for the Safe Access to Fuel and Energy (SAFE) activities.
The deteriorating security situation remains the main cause of displacements. Ongoing unilateral relocation of IDPs by Borno State Government, expected to continue in the coming weeks despite safety and security risks triggered by escalating attacks and clashes, is a major concern for Sector partners. The Sector and its partners are likely to face serious challenges in this regard, especially as some of the relocations are taking place at short notice and to areas which are still inaccessible to humanitarian actors. The Sector will continue to advocate for voluntary, safe, principled and sustainable returns and durable solutions, and coordinate data collection, including by finalising its harmonised protection monitoring tool.