A United Nation Refugee Agency, UNHCR, Tuesday, said that more than 2,600 Nigerians who fled Nigeria for northern Cameroon to escape Boko Haram have been forced to go home since the start of the year. The agency said many had been sent back with Cameroonian officials citing security reasons.
“So far this year, Cameroon has forcefully returned over 2,600 refugees to Nigerian border villages against their will without allowing them time to collect their belongings”, UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told reporters in Geneva.
Baloch stated that the returnees were taken in trucks to a camp for displaced people in Banki, Borno State. He said “those returned included a one-year-old child and a nine-month pregnant woman, who gave birth the day after her arrival in Banki. During the chaos, families were separated and some women were forced to leave their young children behind in Cameroon, including a child less than three years old”.
The UNHCR spokesperson further stressed that the forced return of asylum seekers and refugees constitutes refoulement, which is a serious violation of international law.