Nigeria has the largest caseload of missing persons in Africa, says The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The global humanitarian body says Nigeria’s 24,000 missing people represents about half of the continent’s caseload.

Aliyu Dawobe, ICRC’s spokesman, said in a statement on Sunday, in Abuja, that more than 44,000 people across Africa have been registered as missing. Over 45 per cent of them are children, he said.

“Eighty-two per cent of the missing are registered in seven countries in Africa, namely Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Libya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon.

“Nigeria accounts for 24,000 missing people, over half of those registered as missing in Africa, and represents ICRC’s largest missing caseload on the continent.

“More than 90 per cent of the cases are the result of the armed conflicts in the North-East of the country and 57 per cent were children at the time they went missing,” he said.

The Boko Haram insurgency has displaced nearly 2.4 million people in the Lake Chad Basin, the North-East Nigeria accounting for over 2.1 million of them, according to the UNHCR.

The decade-long onslaught has dislocated families as folks fleeing attacks disperse abroad without hopes or means of reconnecting.

Mr Dawobe noted that August 30 is marked as the International Day of the Disappeared and that ICRC stands with the families and relatives of the missing and commemorates with them expressing its solidarity.

He said that ICRC assures them that they are not alone and their loved ones are not forgotten.

Mr Dawobe said that the African continent had seen a rise in the number of people registered with the ICRC as missing since 2020, due to armed conflicts and other situations of violence.

He said that the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 led to restrictions that added more challenges in searching for missing people.

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