Hundreds of Nigerian refugees ‘voluntarily’ return home

Hundreds of Nigerians, who fled their country due to Boko Haram attacks, now ‘voluntarily’ return back to their homes after seeking refuge in camps in Cameroon

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Women travel in the back of a truck in the town of Mararaba, after the Nigerian military recaptured it from Boko Haram, in Adamawa state May 10, 2015.

A relief agency official said on Friday that hundreds of Nigerian refugees "voluntarily" returned back home after seeking refuge in camps in Cameroon, amounting to a total number of more than 9,000 people crossing back to Nigeria.

"We have been receiving our citizens who sought refuge in neighboring countries. We have received at least 9,000 from Cameroon, including some 2,000 we recently received at the border,” the relief agency’s regional coordinator, Mohammed Kanar, told Anadolu Agency.

Adding that the refugees were those "who offered to return home on their own accord.”

On Friday, more than 235 Nigerians moved out of a refugee camp in Kousseri in the far northern region of Cameroon in an attempt to return to their homes in Nigeria, escorted by a group of soldiers, an official with the National Emergency Management Agency said.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari stated on Wednesday, confirming an earlier statement by the International Committee of the Red Cross, that more than 1.5 million people from the northeast region had become internally displaced due to ongoing attacks by the Boko Haram militant group, this figure disregards the number of people who escaped to neighboring countries.

Initially, most of these refugees were placed in temporary camps located in various northeastern Nigerian cities of Maiduguri, Yola or Damaturu - the capital cities of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, respectively.

These refugees were then returned back to their original communities, once security officials found the situation safe from the militants’ atrocities.

Thousands of Nigerians have fled their country in recent years to escape Boko Haram's’ assaults on civilians, seeking refuge in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Following the June suicide bombs in Chad, authorities reportedly detained and expelled more than 2,000 undocumented refugees, of whom include Cameroonians, Nigerians and Nigerians.

In addition, according to Cameroonian officials, the country has expelled more than 3,000 Nigerian refugees in response to the suicide bomb attacks for safety reasons, due to such events, refugees in the Lake Chad Basin countries have been facing difficulties in the countries that they have sought refuge in.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, Cameroon currently hosts about 12,000 refugees.

Nigeria refugees who were deported by Niger troops arrive in Gaidam, Nigeria on Thursday, May 6, 2015.


TRTWorld and agencies