Refugees flow from Central Africa Republic to Cameroon amidst tensions

More than 30,000 Togolese sought asylum in Ghana and other neighboring countries following the 2005 election results. Photo: UNHCR/D. Kamphuis

Hundreds of Central African Republic (CAR) refugees have been flooding into neighboring Cameroon amid tensions in their home country, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) in Cameroon.

“We are aware of some 2,100 arrivals. If it (security situation) deteriorates in the Central African Republic, then it is possible that more people will be crossing over into Cameroon to seek refuge,” Olivier Guillaume Beer, the representative of UNHCR in Cameroon, told Xinhua on Tuesday.

“Those who have come are in need of food, clothing, psychosocial follow up, and other basic assistance. The needs are more acute because of a cold spell in the area…

We most certainly need more resources to assist them in a sustainable manner,” Beer said, adding that about 300,000 CAR refugees, tortured by years of armed conflict, are currently hosted by Cameroon.

Cameroon army has significantly increased security along its border with the CAR after clashes between legal forces and the rebels erupted in several towns across the CAR with possible spillover effects along the border, officials said on Tuesday.

Two Cameroonian soldiers and a civilian have been abducted by rebels from the CAR along the Cameroon-CAR border, according to a senior security officer who asked not to be named.

Joint forces of the peacekeepers of the UN mission (MINUSCA) and soldiers of the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) have pushed the rebels to flee and advance to Cameroonian border towns of Meiganga and Garoua-Boulai.

At the same time, over 100 CAR soldiers have escaped to these two Cameroonian border towns, according to local authorities.

CAR, a landlocked former French colony in the heart of Africa, held presidential and legislative elections last Sunday in the midst of threats by ragtag rebel groups to disrupt polls. Observers said the first round of voting witnessed periodic disturbances with no major incidents on the polls despite the threats.

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