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At least 15,000 Cameroonian refugees in Nigeria

By on January 13, 2018

More than 15,000 Cameroonian refugees have fled to Nigeria amid a crackdown on Anglophone separatists, the United Nationsrefugee agency and Nigerian government officials said on Thursday.

More than 8,000 refugees have been registered in the southeastern state of Cross River alone, said Antonio Jose Canhandula, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) representative in Nigeria, at a briefing in Abuja.

At least 6,700 Cameroonian refugees have crossed into neighbouring Benue state, said Sadiya Umar Farouq, the head of Nigeria’s National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, citing Benue officials.

The refugees are mostly children, women and the elderly, with very few young men, the officials said.

“They are still coming, and they are coming daily,” said the UNHCR’s Canhandula. “It is a crisis.”

Nigerian and Cameroonian officials have met to discuss the refugees and those talks are ongoing.

Last week, Nigerian authorities took 12 leaders of the separatists, including the chairman of the self-declared Governing Council of Ambazonia, into custody after they gathered for a meeting in a hotel in the Nigerian capital Abuja, people familiar with the matter said.

Cameroonian troops last month crossed into Nigeria in pursuit of rebels without seeking Nigerian authorization, leading to diplomatic wrangling behind the scenes.

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