Nigeria: 9,000 refugees return home from Cameroon camps

Hundreds of Nigerian refugees, who fled Boko Haram attacks, are continuing their journey back home 'voluntarily' from camps in Cameroon

Rafiu Oriyomi Ajakaye   | 09.10.2015
Nigeria: 9,000 refugees return home from Cameroon camps

ABUJA, Nigeria

Hundreds of Nigerian refugees are continuing their journey back home "voluntarily" from camps in Cameroon, with the numbers now exceeding 9,000 people, an official of a relief agency said Friday.

Since 2013, thousands of refugees have fled northeast Nigeria to escape Boko Haram militant group attacks.

On Friday, at least 235 Nigerians left a refugee camp in Cameroon for their homes in Nigeria under an armed escort by a team of soldiers, an official with the National Emergency Management Agency said.

Mohammed Kanar, the relief agency’s regional coordinator, told Anadolu Agency: "Yes, this is true. But it is an ongoing activity. We have been receiving our citizens who sought refuge in neighboring countries. We have received at least 9,000 from Cameroon, including some 2,000 we recently received at the border.”

Kanar said that the refugees were those "who offered to return home on their own accord”.

Corroborating an earlier statement by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari said Wednesday that at least 1.5 million residents from the northeast region had been internally displaced as a result of the insurgency. This figure excludes those who fled to other countries.

Most such refugees are initially settled at temporary camps in various northeastern Nigerian cities of Maiduguri, Yola or Damaturu -- the capital cities of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, respectively. They are later settled back in their original communities once security agencies find the atmosphere conducive. 

In recent years, thousands of Nigerians fleeing Boko Haram violence have sought refuge in neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Because of the ongoing counter-terrorism measures, refugees in the Lake Chad Basin countries have been facing difficulties in Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad.

In June, following a twin suicide bombing in the Chadian capital N’djamena, authorities there reportedly detained and expelled over 2,000 undocumented immigrants, including Cameroonians, Nigerians and Nigerians.

According to Cameroonian officials, the country has expelled more than 3,000 Nigerians as part of its anti-terrorism measures.

Cameroon Far North Region hosts some 12,000 refugees most of whom fled from Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

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