Almost 8,000 Cameroon refugees have so far fled their Country to eastern and southern part of Nigeria in the last two weeks, the United Nations refugee agency revealed on Thursday, as violence flared between security forces and separatist insurgents.
Their coming in the run-up to last weekend’s general elections, brings the total number of Cameroonians who have fled to Nigeria to almost 60,000, according to the U.N. Agency.
Conflict broke out between Cameroon’s army and English-speaking militias seeking to form a breakaway state called Ambazonia after the government violently cracked down on peaceful protesters complaining of being marginalized by the French-speaking majority.
This has forced half a million people to flee their homes and presented President Paul Biya with his biggest challenge since he took power nearly 40 years ago.
The U.N. refugee agency”
“expects further arrivals as refugees inform that more people are still in remote border areas and could be on their way trying to reach Nigeria,” Thursday’s statement.
“Refugees reported fleeing violence and some even arrived across the border with gunshot wounds,” it said. “According to new arrivals, most come from areas near the border and have trekked across Savannah and forests to reach Nigeria.”