Over the past month Cameroon has seen a sharp increase in refugees arriving from neighboring Central African Republic (CAR), according to a UNHCR report last Friday.
Since the start of February 2014, over 19 000 displaced Central Africans have crossed the country’s western border into Cameroon. In just three weeks, this recent influx more than doubles the total of people who have fled since violence erupted in March 2013. UNHCR reports the total number of refugees entering Cameroon at 35 000.
This displacement crisis comes as a result of attacks on civilians by militia groups in Bangui and northwestern CAR. Between late 2012 and early 2013, a rebel group known as the Séléka began a series of attacks in the northwest and eventually established (now-former) President Michel Djotodia. President Djotodia disbanded the Séléka in late 2013, but many of the fighters have continued perpetrating violence on mostly Christian civilians. Now violence has increased as “anti-balaka” militias, formed to combat the Séléka, have turned their violence onto Muslim communities who make up a minority of the overall CAR population. Both communities, Muslim and Christian, have been devastated by the conflict.
This recent influx of refugees far exceeds Cameroon’s capacities to provide even modest accommodations. Recent arrivals are lacking food, shelter, and other basic necessities. Improvements to the situation look like a distant hope as the conflict continues to rage on.
You can read more about the new arrivals of refugees to Cameroon in this article from UNHCR: