News / Africa

Refugees from War in Neighboring Countries Flooding into Cameroon

Nigerians of Cameroonian origin build a house in a village of Tallamallabrahim, northern Cameroon where they settled after fleeing Nigeria to escape massacres by the Islamic group Boko Haram, May 27, 2013.
Nigerians of Cameroonian origin build a house in a village of Tallamallabrahim, northern Cameroon where they settled after fleeing Nigeria to escape massacres by the Islamic group Boko Haram, May 27, 2013.
Cameroon said it is home to over 20,000 Nigerian and Central African Republic (CAR) refugees who are fleeing disorder and killings in their countries.  Fears have been raised that some of the refugees, especially from the CAR,  may be coming in with weapons used during the conflict that ousted that country's former president, Francois Bozize.

Escaping political unrest

Thousands of Nigerians fleeing killings blamed on the Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the military offensive by the Nigerian army have been crossing the border to neighboring Cameroon.

Governor Fonka Augustine of the Far North region of Cameroon said there are already more than 4,000 Nigerian refugees in his region alone and more continue to come in.  Thousands of others are seeking refuge in other parts of Cameroon. The International Red Cross estimates that Nigerian refugees in Cameroon number about 10,000.

One of the refugees, 36-year-old businessman Sam Uche, said he escaped to Cameroon after Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan sent troops to Yobe state to battle Boko Haram. "The Boko Haram has given Nigeria a bad name, that is why I had to escape from my country, Nigeria to this place," he said.

Uche adds that he is still hiding from Cameroonian immigration officials and has not been able to contact the United Nations refugee agency. "It is a good Country, it is a neighboring country of Nigeria but the difficulties we are facing is that the immigration officers are disturbing us," he explained.

There is also an influx of people from the Central African Republic running away from the political unrest in their country.

Influx of rebels among refugees

It is estimated that at least 12,000 CAR nationals are in Cameroon.

Clarrice Bande, a 29-year-old housewife from the center of the CAR,  has been in Yaounde for two weeks now.  She said she is waiting for calm to return to her country before she can go back.

She said she comes from Sibou in the Central African Republic and is running away because there is no peace there and there is danger every day.

Cameroonian authorities have also raised concerns that the Central African Republic refugees, some of whom fought during the coup that ousted the CAR's  former president Francois Bozize, are coming into Cameroon with weapons.  

Cameroon's secretary of state in charge of the national police, Jean Baptist Bokam, said they have deployed the military to make sure that such weapons are seized.

He said that since the change of power in the CAR there has been a flow of people into Cameroon representing both the rebels and the troops loyal to the former CAR president Bozize.  Bokam said it has affected security inside Cameroon and he says in the east of the country there is now a security alert in effect.  He said the situation is being handled.

Cameroonians, for their part, have mixed reactions about the increasing number of refugees in their country.  Pa Ambe Martin, a transporter, welcomes the refugees.

"They are neighbors and if they have a problem, they can run to Cameroon as usual," Martin stated. "Those who have problems and they think that they can come to Cameroon can come.  If you have a problem, you run to your neighbor's house."

But Joe Njobati, a business man, sees problems with the influx. "It will be difficult for the government or the  Cameroonian authorities to go solve problems in Nigeria.  The influx of Nigerians will only create problems for the Cameroonian authorities," he said.

The farmers in Cameroon are also raising fears of potential farmer/grazer conflicts as some of the refugees are coming to Cameroon with their cattle.  

The government of Cameroon and the International Red Cross said, with the fighting in Nigeria and Central African Republic persisting, there are indications that the number of refugees will continue to increase.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

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

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

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.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs