CAR refugee numbers spiral in Cameroon

2014-02-22 07:00
Refugees walk in mud after a storm in the airport camp in Bangui, Central African Republic. (Jerome Delay, AP)

Refugees walk in mud after a storm in the airport camp in Bangui, Central African Republic. (Jerome Delay, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Geneva - Around 28 000 people have fled from conflict-torn Central African Republic to neighbouring Cameroon since the start of this month, the UN refugee agency said on Friday.

"The new arrivals from CAR are living in appalling conditions. Most of them lack food and shelter," said Dan McNorton, spokesperson for the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR).

"Generous host communities have taken in many people, but they cannot share their homes and resources with everyone," he told reporters.

The influx, mainly of Muslims fleeing communal bloodshed, brings to 35 000 the total number of people who have fled across the border to Cameroon since a coup in March 2013.

Even before the current crisis erupted when the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition seized power last year, Cameroon was hosting 92,000 refugees from unrest-prone Central African Republic.

They first started to arrive in 2006, fleeing growing attacks by rebels, militias and bandits.

McNorton said the growing number of refugees was driving up prices for food and other basic necessities such as soap and fuel.

The violence in Central African Republic spun out of control when rogue Seleka fighters began committing atrocities against the Christian majority.

The campaign of killings, rape and looting sparked revenge attacks by Christian vigilantes known as "anti-balaka" (anti-machete).

Despite the presence of French and African peacekeeping troops, violence continues in the country, and has already forced about a quarter of the population of 4.6 million people from their homes.


In addition to Central African citizens, thousands of migrants from other countries have also fled the violence, in particular citizens of majority-Muslim Chad fearful of being targeted by anti-balaka fighters.

About 8 000 refugees from other countries have already arrived in Cameroon, mostly Chadians and citizens of Mali, Mauritania and Niger, said McNorton.

Aid agencies have scrambled to help them get back to their home countries.

In addition to heading west to Cameroon, thousands of refugees have gone north to Chad.

"Seventeen trucks carrying more than 2 000 people arrived overnight," said Christiane Berthiaume, spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration.

"And hundreds of people are in the process of crossing the border," she told reporters.

Read more on:    unhcr  |  central african republic  |  central africa

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.


Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!


I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go! - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.