204 displaced Nigerians were sent home on 29 March 2017.
L’Œil du Sahel of 31 March 2017 reports that 204 Nigerian refugees living in Cameroon were returned home on 29 March. They lived until then in the buildings housing the services of the Customs of Kolofata, in the Mayo-Sava division, region of the Far-North.
They were “transported on board five vehicles, including two Cameroonian army trucks that were sent to Nigeria,” the newspaper said. Mamoudou, a local resident tells the story:
“It was around 7:30 am that army vehicles arrived in the camp. Once the camp was secured, the head of the operation, who kept the complete list of refugees, proceeded to the family call and everyone was asked to get into the trucks. After, the occupants of the trucks were taken to the border with Nigeria, escorted by three military vehicles. They were taken to Banki, “the latter said.
This is not the first repatriation of its kind. The weekly recalls that about a month ago, more than 2,500 Nigerian refugees had already been dismissed from the same locality to Nigeria. A situation that had raised concerns of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
“Cameroon forcibly returned 2,600 refugees to Nigerian border villages. UNHCR is particularly concerned that these forced returns continued unabated after the governments of Nigeria and Cameroon signed a tripartite agreement with UNHCR in Yaoundé on 2 March 2017 to facilitate the voluntary return of Nigerian refugees when conditions are favorable “Said UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch during a press briefing in Geneva.
Declarations which in turn provoked the anger of the Cameroonian government, which was not slow to react. In a statement, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, the Minister of Communication, described the said declarations as
“unfounded allegations that are particularly unjust and liable to undermine the image of a country whose meritorious efforts to welcome refugees are unanimous Welcomed, including by UNHCR “.