Many more Nigerian refugees are crossing the border to seek refuge in Cameroon, barely a month after the United Nations criticised the host country of forcing refugees who are fleeing Boko Haram to return.
Going by French language triweekly, L’Oeil du Sahel, an ongoing operation carried out by a Joint Multinational Taskforce fighting terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin caused the Nigerians to flee from their communities which supposedly harboured Boko Haram fighters.
Fighting between the taskforce and the terrorists forced citizens in Nigeria to escape into the Madina and Zigage neighbourhoods in the Logone and Chari divisions of Cameroon’s Far North region. The operation Rawan Kada was the reason a batch of about 78 citizens fled to Cameroon on April 22. The batch added to an earlier batch of about 30 youngsters who had arrived two weeks earlier. Some six women and several children had been living in the area for about a month already.
A traditional ruler of the area says the community is having a hard time providing the refugees with support. He told the tri-weekly tabloid that they provided the Nigerians with a bag of flour and some okra. He complained that what they provide is insufficient and regreted that they do not have enough help to give the people.
Sources in the area say officials of the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, have visited the area and registered the refugees. “They came and left without taking along any refugee, whereas security forces are worried that we may have BoKo Haram insurgents among us” the source said.
Madina alone is said to be hosting 143 refugees who spend cold nights in the blistering cold without shelter.