21, Jan 2019
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said it was “extremely alarmed” by Cameroon’s forcing back of several thousand Nigerian refugees to northeast Nigeria, where civilians remain under threat from militant group Boko Haram, the Guardian reported. This incident followed a similar one on January 16, when 267 Nigerian refugees were forcibly returned, according to the UNHCR’s statement, which noted, “An estimated 9,000 Nigerians fled across the border into Cameroon earlier in the week after militants attacked and ransacked the small border town of Rann in Nigeria’s Borno State. The militants went on a rampage by targeting military installations, civilians and humanitarian facilities. At least 14 people are reported killed.” Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, called Cameroon’s move “totally unexpected,” saying it put the “lives of thousands of refugees at risk”. He has called on Cameroon “to continue its open door and hospitable policy and practices and halt immediately any more returns and to ensure full compliance with its refugee protection obligations under its own national legislation, as well as international law.” More than 370,000 refugees are currently in Cameroon, of which around 100,000 are from Nigeria, the UNHCR said.