7 March 2018

Nigeria: Cameroon Military Invades Nigeria Refugee Camps

Abuja — Cameroonian military personnel are reportedly infiltrating refugee camps in Nigeria and abducting their compatriots fleeing persecution by the government in the Central African country.

The reports come as the number of Cameroon nationals seeking refuge in Nigeria rises steadily amid alleged abuse by the government of President Paul Biya.

The government is facing protests by English-speaking communities.

About 18 000 Cameroonians have fled to Nigeria.

Humanitarian organisations reported the refugees were not entirely safe because men believed to be personnel from the Cameroon military had infiltrated refugee camps in search of individuals allegedly associated with the calls for independence by English-speaking communities.

Officials disclosed there had been two reported incidents. An unspecified number of refugees had been abducted to Cameroon.

Nigeria has also been accused of forcibly returning the fleeing Camerooonians back to their country.

However, it has reassured the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and (UNHCR) humanitarian agencies of continued commitment to protect individuals fleeing the crisis in the neighbouring country.

"The pending relocation of asylum seekers away from the border areas would also help the military and other national security agencies effectively monitor the borders and prevent the repetition of such incidents (infiltration) in a comprehensive and sustainable manner," a UNHCR official said.

English-speaking communities in Cameroon are protesting alleged marginalization by government, which is dominated by French speakers.

Government has accused pro-independence militants of killing at least 30 security personnel and kidnapping several local officials since the uprising intensified in October 2017.

Critics have also accused the government of killing civilians supporting separation and burning down their villages.


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