ABUJA, Nigeria, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Nearly a quarter million Nigerians remain refugees in neighboring countries after fleeing Boko Haram, a government agency reported.
Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency said in a report that it identified 239,834 refugees -- including 20,804 in Chad, 80,709 in Cameroon and 138,321 in Niger. It added that 28,951 former refugees have returned to Nigeria.
The report also cited the humanitarian work of NEMA and the United Nations in bringing relief aid to the displaced Nigerians, the Nigerian newspaper Vanguard reported Tuesday.
The government has trumpeted its victory over Boko Haram, despite isolated incidents in which the Islamist insurgency group has continued to raid villages in the northeastern part of the country.
"The focus is gradually shifting towards reconstruction, rehabilitation, resettlement, recovery and dignified return of IDPs [internally displaced persons] back home, while processes for the return of Nigerian refugees from neighboring countries is equally on-going."
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees spokesman Leo Dobbs said Friday that relief has begun arriving for previously inaccessible refugees in northern Cameroon. More than 27,000 people have been living with host families, themselves destitute, and in abandoned villages lacking in basic services, he said. They have been almost totally dependent on local communities, and while the U.N.'s World Food Program is contributing to the relief effort, the refugees are encouraged to relocate to a refugee camp deeper in Cameroon's Minawao region.