The United Nations said on Friday it was “extremely alarmed” by the forced return by Cameroon of thousands of refugees to north-east Nigeria, where Boko Haram Islamists pose a continuing threat to civilians.
“This action was totally unexpected and puts lives of thousands of refugees at risk,” the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, said in a statement.
Cameroon forced “several thousand” refugees back to Nigeria this week, including 267 on Wednesday, the UN agency said.
“I am appealing to Cameroon to continue its open door and hospitable policy,” Grandi said, while calling on the government to immediately halt any more returns and meet its obligations under international law.
Cameroon has 370,000 refugees, 100,000 of whom are Nigerians, according to the UNHCR.
Earlier this month, more than 9,000 people fled to Cameroon after an attack on a military base and aid buildings in the town of Rann in north-east Nigeria’s Borno state.
The attack was blamed on the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) faction of Boko Haram, which has carried out similar raids against troops since July last year.
The upsurge in violence has forced tens of thousands of people to flee, including internally displaced people who have returned home after previous attacks.
As 2019 begins…
… we’re asking readers to make a new year contribution in support of The Guardian’s independent journalism. More people are reading our independent, investigative reporting than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our reporting as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help.
The Guardian is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important as it enables us to give a voice to those less heard, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.
Warning: include(/index.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/oluwfhnq/public_html/wp-content/plugins/social-share-button/includes/class-shortcodes.php on line 41
Warning: include(): Failed opening '/index.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/opt/alt/php56/usr/share/pear:/opt/alt/php56/usr/share/php') in /home/oluwfhnq/public_html/wp-content/plugins/social-share-button/includes/class-shortcodes.php on line 41