Around 10,000 flee Cameroon violence into Nigeria

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Cameroonian families seek refuge in Utanga, Obanliku, Nigeria. [Photo courtesy: UNHCR]
Cameroonian families seek refuge in Utanga, Obanliku, Nigeria.
[Photo courtesy: UNHCR]

Around 10,000 Cameroonian refugees fleeing violence in their country have been registered in eastern Nigeria, with thousands more remaining unregistered in neighbouring states, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday.

Most of the refugees are women and children, who have been affected by difficult access to food and the lack of subsistence opportunities.

According to the UNHCR, the difficult situation has pushed some of the refugee children into begging on the streets to survive, while women are faced with a higher risk of sexual and gender-based violence, particularly from survival sex.

The agency said it is working with Nigerian authorities to reunite the separated children with their families.

Over the past year, there has been mounting tension in Cameroon’s Southwest and Northwest regions – home to Anglophones who account for about one fifth of the West African nation’s population of 23 million.

English-speakers have been complaining that they have suffered decades of economic inequality and social injustice at the hands of the French-speaking majority.

On October 1, the breakaway Anglophone movement issued a symbolic declaration of independence for “Ambazonia”, claiming autonomy over English-speaking regions in the country.

Calls for independence or greater autonomy have been firmly rejected by President Paul Biya.

The violence has killed tens and injured thousands others.

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