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Nigeria holds record for highest number of missing people —Red Cross

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Peter Maurer

No fewer than 22,000 Nigerians have been reported missing following Boko Haram-related attacks, with nearly 60 percent of them being minors at the time they went missing.

This is according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

In a statement on Thursday, ICRC said that the figure was the highest number of missing persons it had registered.

ICRC President, Peter Maurer, speaking at the end of his five-day visit to Nigeria, noted that the high rate of missing minors meant thousands of parents did not know where their children were and if they were alive or dead.

“Every parent’s worst nightmare is not knowing where their child is. This is the tragic reality for thousands of Nigerian parents, leaving them with the anguish of a constant search,” he said.

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“People have the right to know the fate of their loved ones, and more needs to be done to prevent families from being separated in the first place.”

During his visit, Maurer met with President Muhammadu Buhari, senior government officials, civil society and business leaders.

He also spoke with family members affected by the conflict in the northeastern cities of Maiduguri and Monguno, many of whom had missing relatives.

Maurer observed that some families were often separated while fleeing attacks, while some others had loved ones abducted or detained and did not know their whereabouts.

“The ICRC works with the Nigeria Red Cross and other Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in the region to trace missing people by showing photographs, calling out names and going door-to-door in camps and communities.

“So far, 367 cases have been solved since ICRC received its first cases in 2013, underscoring the immense challenges that come with finding missing people and reconnecting them with their families in Nigeria,” he revealed.

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