News / Africa

CAR Soldiers Resist Call to Leave Cameroon

President of the Central African Republic Francois Bozize speaks to the media at the presidential palace in Bangui, Central African Republic Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013
President of the Central African Republic Francois Bozize speaks to the media at the presidential palace in Bangui, Central African Republic Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013
Soldiers from the Central African Republic (CAR) who fled to Cameroon are refusing to go back to their home country. The men are complaining of insecurity in the CAR, where the rebel group Seleka toppled the president in March. They also say they may face charges of manslaughter in the CAR's courts.

The soldiers who entered Cameroon after CAR President Francois Bozize was ousted in a coup March 24, have turned down calls for them to go home. One of their spokespeople, Kato Djodiar, who remains loyal to the ousted president, says that  new CAR President Michel Djotodia is not giving the soldiers any assurances they will not be arrested or even killed if they return home.

He says there is no question of going back because those who fought with president Bozize are wanted everywhere and they are not sure that if they return they will be secure.  He says at this time those who fought with Bozize have been declared wanted so many prefer to stay in Cameroon for now.

Cameroonian officials say there are are 70 CAR soldiers in Cameroon who have refused to return to their country.

But the national Red Cross of Cameroon puts the number much higher, at more than 500 soldiers, a majority of whom were supporters of the CAR's ousted president. The government of Cameroon is reported to be uncomfortable with their presence as many remain heavily armed.

Government representatives from both Cameroon and the Central African Republic have been visiting the soldiers, trying to persuade them to go home. The leader of the delegation from the CAR, Idriss Salao, who is the country's deputy director of the civil cabinet of the presidency, says soldiers who left the CAR are still considered in active service so their salaries will be paid.  He also says they will enjoy security if they return to Bangui.

Cameroon's secretary of state in charge of war veterans, Kumpa Issa, also joined the delegation.  He refutes allegations that Cameroon is forcing the Central Africans to return saying 21 of the soldiers have returned voluntarily.

Cameroonian resentment

Many Cameroonians do not appreciate the presence of the CAR soldiers or the presence of the ousted CAR president Francois Bozize in Cameroon. 40-year-old Mireil Lambo, a journalist says Bozize's presence could destablize the border region.

Emmanuel Sandjong, a businessman in Yaounde, agrees. "Bozize has been declared a fugitive in this country," he said. "The fact that he stays in Cameroon makes it insecure for both Cameroon and for the cordial relations that have to exist between the Cameroon and the Central African Republic."

Many here in Yaounde say the presence of Bozize and his loyalists in Cameroon has strained the country's relations with the CAR. Three months ago, new CAR leader Michel Djotodia announced that he was going to visit Cameroon -- but he never arrived. Observers said Bozize's presence in Cameroon made him change his mind.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs