TV360 | 35,000 Nigerians seeking refuge in Cameroon are safe, says the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
The UN agency says the people had fled Rann to Cameroon in the last two weeks after Boko Haram extremist fighters repeatedly attacked the town.
Speaking on a visit to Goura in Cameroon on Friday, the UN Resident Coordinator in Cameroon, Allegra Baiocchi said:
“The outlawed terrorist group has been active in this impoverished corner of north-east Nigeria for over a decade. Thousands of people not just in Nigeria but over the border in Cameroon and Chad, have been killed, many summarily executed.
“The livelihoods of tens of thousands of others have been destroyed in the insurgency, as regional governments struggle to put an end to the ongoing violence.
“The refugees left Rann following the recent withdrawal of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) which came to secure the city after an attack on January 14.
“The MNJTF was set up by the affected countries – Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Benin – to counter Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups which are gaining ground across the Lake Chad region,” UNHCR said.
This comes after concerns that Nigerians have been forcefully ejected from Cameroon, despite that several thousands of Cameroonian refugees hosted across Nigeria.
“I have seen many fearful people here, whose lives have been destroyed by Boko Haram.
“The people who came here really had no choice. This is where they need to be now if they want to stay alive.”
The United Nations and its partners have also provided basic services to refugees now settled in a makeshift refugee settlement in Goura.
Some 13,000 people have received food ratios and each registered refugee is getting six litres of clean water a day, some way below the recommended 15 litres minimum.
The UNHCR top official in Cameroon, Geert de Casteele said in Goura that: “The response from humanitarian workers here has been impressive in what is an extremely challenging environment.
“We need to scale up the response keeping in mind the local population; that is the next step and I am hopeful we can achieve, with increased funding.”