News / Africa

CAR Refugees Face Harrowing Trip to Cameroon

FILE - Refugees from Central Africa sit in the eastern Cameroonian village of Gado Badzere, near the city of Garoua-Boulai, not far from the border with Central Africa Republic.
FILE - Refugees from Central Africa sit in the eastern Cameroonian village of Gado Badzere, near the city of Garoua-Boulai, not far from the border with Central Africa Republic.

The number of refugees fleeing the strife-torn Central African Republic for Cameroon has declined somewhat, but not because the C.A.R. is returning to calm.  Refugees and aid workers say fewer people are able to make the trip because of malnourishment and insecurity.

The refugees entering in Gado from the troubled Central African Republic look tired, sick and hungry.  

Refugee crossing declining

According to the U.N. refugee agency, the numbers crossing the border has dropped in recent weeks, from 10,000 per week to about 8,000 now.

Marie Anjaba, who fled her residence in the C.A.R. town of Bouar a month ago, says their numbers are falling because many Central Africans have died.

She said fewer people are coming now because many of them either die while trekking to Cameroon or are killed by Muslim Seleka rebels.

Among the humanitarian agencies taking care of the refugees is Doctors Without Borders, known by its French initials MSF.  One of its medical staff, Gervail Martial Mbonye, said many of the refugees tell terrifying stories.

He said some of them told him they spent two months in the bush and all of their family members were killed.

Refugees flee for various reasons

MSF's communications officer for Cameroon, Laetitia Martin, said most of the refugees who are still coming are in critical need of medical attention.  "The situation is quite worrying.  Even though the number of people coming from Central Africa has decreased a bit, their health status and their mental status is very worrying.  What is more specific today is that they are people who arrive maybe after one, two, three or four months in the bush in the C.A.R., hiding from the different groups that are attacking people," stated Martin.

Not all refugees tell stories of desperation.  Joseph Akadji said he left the C.A.R. because he has children and after months of violence, the schools have not reopened.

He said he has decided to settle in Cameroon because their future will be compromised if they do not go to school even though violence has gone down in their country.

Akagbe Emmanuel said he and other students are looking for ways to fund their education.

He said they have projects like opening up poultry farms to raise money and fund their education and adds that some of them are in desperate need of money.

For now, the United Nations Children's Fund is providing them some food.  Doctors Without Borders' Martin said they also provide health care for the refugees but that the needs of refugee children keep increasing.

"We have been doing 56,000 consultations, we are taking care of malnourished and it's like more than 92 percent of the refugee children that are being taken care of in MSF structures," said Martin.

The reduction in the number of refugees started after a deal signed last month between rival militias aimed at ending more than a year of religious conflict.  The first Muslim prime minister in the Christian-dominated country, Mahamat Kamoun, was appointed in the wake of meetings.

However, the appointment has been rejected by the mainly Muslim rebel group Seleka.

An estimated 20 percent of C.A.R. inhabitants have fled their homes in the conflict which began as Seleka rebels toppled the president in March 2013.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs