News / Africa

Cameroon's Muslim Refugees Return Home

A family displaced by inter-communal violence in the country sit near  a plane in a camp for displaced persons at Bangui M'Poko International Airport, Feb. 20, 2014.
A family displaced by inter-communal violence in the country sit near a plane in a camp for displaced persons at Bangui M'Poko International Airport, Feb. 20, 2014.
Cameroon's military is bringing home the last of some 2,000 Muslim citizens who had taken refuge in the Cameroonian ambassador's residence in Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR). They tell stories of atrocities committed by the anti-balaka Christian militias in CAR.

Ibrahim Chieik Ismaila, a popular Muslim spiritual leader in Cameroon, prays for God's mercies at the main hall of the Douala International Airport. A group of people, including Mahamat Sherif, have gathered there expecting the return of their relatives from the troubled Central African Republic.

He said he has been coming to the airport for one week to welcome his uncle's family that has been in CAR for 15 years.  But he has not seen or heard from them and is totally confused - he does not know if they have been killed or are still alive.

For close to two weeks now, Cameroon military planes have been mobilized to repatriate citizens, especially Muslims, who have been subjects of recent attacks.  Only about 125 of the more than 600 who have returned within two weeks are men, the rest are children and women.  They say their men escaped into the bush and they do not know what has become of them.

Fleeing Cameroonians, like 30-year-old Rabi Njoya, tell of horrible scenes as a result of the sectarian violence.

He said he saw anti-balaka's slaughtering people as if they were human flesh eaters. He said all of his friends with whom he lived in Bangui were killed and he went to the Cameroonian embassy to ask for help.

Sali Samma, 42, says the anti-balakas, a Christian militia formed after the rise to power of former CAR leader Michel Djotodia, accused him of working for their enemies, the Selekas, a Muslim militia. He said that was the reason he was injured.

He said anti-balakas held him hostage and tied his hands and legs for more than an hour, accusing him of spying for the Selekas when he claims he is not a spy.

The Christian militia leaders say they suffered at the hands of the Selekas and are now seeking revenge.  

The Muslims returning to Cameroon say they have been under a growing threat since Michel Djotodia and his mostly Muslim fighters were blamed for scores of atrocities against the predominantly Christian population.  Even after Djotodia finally surrendered power and was replaced by Samba-Panza, they have seen no peace.

The airlift ordered by Cameroon President Paul Biya is to return all Cameroonian citizens, especially Muslims in CAR.

But people from other countries have also benefited. A pregnant Malian and two teenagers, who are suspected to be Central Africans, were also flown to the Douala airport.

Saliou Adamou, who said he is a Malian, expressed gratitude to Cameroon for saving his life.

He says he thanks the Cameroon embassy in Central African Republic.  He said they received us as if we were their Cameroonian brothers and forgot no one.

Boubakari Oumarou who is from Chad said he had lied, saying he was a Cameroonian and was able to leave CAR.

He said the Christian militia members came to his neighborhood in the PK 13 district of Bangui looting and pillaging against the Muslims. He says those who resisted were killed.

Cameroonian authorities said it will be difficult to bring home only Cameroonians because many of them born in CAR do not have Cameroonian identification documents.

Two Months ago, Cameroon organized a similar airlift and brought back more than 1900 people.

This time around, the government is insisting that all Muslims who are still in CAR should return home and save their lives.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid