8 November 2016

Central African Republic: 10 Facts About Refugees in Cameroon

Photo: Kieran Guilbert/Thomson Reuters Foundation
Koulsoumi, 14, fled violence in the Central African Republic last year and sought refuge with a host family in east Cameroon on October 31, 2016.
analysis

Gado-Badzere — Why have the refugees fled from home in Central African Republic? How are their living conditions in Cameroon?

More than 250,000 refugees from the Central African Republic are living in eastern Cameroon, having fled unrest, violence and civil war in the country in several waves since the early 2000s.

Dwindling humanitarian funds for Cameroon, and the prospect of a huge influx of arrivals if Central African Republic plunges back into full-blown conflict, are fuelling fears among aid agencies for the future of the country's refugees.

Here are 10 facts about the situation:

Eastern Cameroon is home to nearly 260,000 refugees from Central African Republic, around 60 percent of whom arrived after sectarian violence erupted in 2013.

Several waves of refugees from Central African Republic have arrived in Cameroon since unrest and civil war in the early 2000s.

Some 7,000 refugees have crossed the border this year amid continuing conflict and insecurity.

The population of eastern Cameroon is around one million people, meaning that refugees from Central African Republic account for one in five people in the region.

Around one third of the refugees live in camps, with the majority residing in communities spread across hundreds of villages in eastern Cameroon.

There are 130,000 child refugees, and 90,000 of them are out of class. Only one in eight of them went to school in Central African Republic before fleeing the country.

The east of Cameroon, along with north, has some of the country's highest rates of child marriage - half of girls under 18 married.

At least seven in 10 refugees do not want to go home due to frequent fighting, ethnic and religious tensions, and fears that their homes and land may have been seized or destroyed.

Cameroon is home in total to 350,000 refugees, with around 70,000 in the Far North having fled Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Conflict erupted in Central African Republic in 2013, when mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, triggering revenge attacks by Christian militias. Violence has reduced since an election in February but fighting remains frequent.

Sources: UNHCR, UNICEF

Reporting By Kieran Guilbert, Editing by; Ros Russell

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