Stop Forced Return of Nigerian Refugees, UN Tells Cameroon

Children and adults in Minawao camp for Nigerian refugees in ameroon

The Cameroon authorities are said to be forcing thousands of Nigerian refugees out of their homes, against their will, to return to the country.

The action came, despite a recent an agreement between Nigeria and Cameroon to prevent forced return.

According to a report issued by United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR yesterday, Cameroonian soldiers have so far this year sent home more than 2,600 refugees against their will to villages in northeast Nigeria, where insecurity persists and access to basic services remains limited.

The two countries and the UNHCR at the beginning of the month, signed an agreement stating that refugees residing in Cameroon who didn’t want to return to Nigeria would not be forced to do so.

“But … the reality is forced returns have continued to happen. Some refugees in Cameroon had been forcibly returned to Nigeria as recently as last Friday,” said UNHCR spokesman, Babar Baloch.

Baloch said the returns were being carried out by the Cameroonian army, adding that the UNHCR had expressed its concerns to the government about a lack of control over the military.

Meanwhile, Cameroonian government officials were not immediately available for comment.

Boko Haram has killed some 15,000 people and forced more than two million to flee their homes during its seven-year campaign to carve out an Islamic state in northeast Nigeria.
More than 85,000 Nigerian refugees reside in neighbouring Cameroon’s Far North region, where the Islamist militants also launch attacks, often using female suicide bombers and children.

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Source: Vanguard

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