More Than 15000 Cameroonian Refugees Flee to Nigeria

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  • January 12, 2018

More than 15,000 Cameroonian refugees have fled to Nigeria amidst a crackdown on Anglophone separatists, the United Nations refugee agency and Nigerian government officials have said.

The once English-speaking movement in majority French-speaking Cameroon has gathered pace in the last few months after a military crackdown on protests, leading it to declare independence in October for a breakaway Ambazonia state.

The move poses the biggest challenge yet to the 35-year rule of President Paul Biya, who will seek re-election this year. More than 8,000 refugees have been registered in the southeastern state of Cross River alone, said Antonio Jose Canhandula, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ representative in Nigeria at a briefing in Abuja.

A further 6,700 or so Cameroonian refugees have crossed into neighbouring Benue state, said Sadiya Umar Farouq, the head of Nigeria’s National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, citing Benue officials.

There are also at least 350 refugees in the states of Taraba and Akwa Ibom, said Tamuno Dienye Jaja, deputy comptroller general of the Nigeria Immigration Service. The refugees are mostly children, women and the elderly, with very few young men, the officials said.

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