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66,000 Nigerian Refugees in Cameroon- UNHCR

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has reported a recent influx into Cameroon of 16,000 more refugees who are fleeing the insurgency ravaging the North east  of Nigeria.

According to UNHCR’s spokesman, Adrian Edwards, who spoke Tuesday to journalists at a press briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, this brings to 66,000, the total of Nigerian refugees in Cameroon.

Edwards also stated that Cameroonian authorities had reported a steady flow of refugees streaming in through the extremely volatile border regions of Makaria, Logone Birni and Fotokol, south of Lake Chad.

The journey, according to the Cameroonian authorities, is a very dangerous one, often leaving them vulnerable to attacks from the Boko Haram insurgents they were fleeing from.

The recent multi-national military campaign against the Boko Haram insurgents have seen the fighting spilling across borders as communities in neighbouring nations such as Chad, Niger, and Cameroon have been victims of attacks executed by the insurgents.

According to the UNCHR spokesman, the agency had already put in place strategic measures to mitigate the effects of the forced migration by scheduling daily transfers of 2,000 refugees to Minawao, a nearby town which houses an established refugee camp that is a temporary home to about 32,600 displaced persons.

Increased fighting across the region has obstructed efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need. This has led the UN refugee agency to liaise with the Cameroonian government on how to relocate refugees away from the areas of active conflict to a nearby transit zone.

According to Edwards, the prospect of more refugees arriving had prompted the need for the creation of a new camp further away from the insecure border.

The spokesman who also spoke about water challenges being faced around Minawao stated that the agency was currently “looking to secure a second camp location that will provide adequate levels of potable water for a rapidly growing refugee population in the Far North region”.

The agency also noted that elsewhere in the region, refugee numbers were also rising, as about 18,000 people have reportedly sought safety in western Chad.

About 15,000 of this are reported to have arrived Chad since early January, fleeing Boko Haram’s offensive against Baga, Borno State.

 

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