Cameroon says more than 1,000 Nigerians have crossed the country’s border in the past three weeks – fleeing attacks by Boko Haram militants in northeast Borno state. Cameroon’s overcrowded camps are struggling to feed the displaced Nigerians as the country is also dealing with an outbreak of cholera.
Cameroon’s military says the Nigerians were displaced by a fresh wave of Boko Haram atrocities.
Sule Dabarou, a community leader in Logone and Chari, the area in northern Cameroon where most of the Nigerians have sought shelter, said his region is most affected by the influx of people displaced by Boko Haram. Speaking Friday on Cameroon state broadcaster CRTV, he said the displaced Nigerians are from the town of Gamboru Ngala and surrounding villages, adding that all of the displaced Nigerians are from Borno state.
Bulami Abakura, a 46-year-old Nigerian, saidhe trekked for several days from his village near Gamboru before Cameroonian officials took him to a village named Mafufu.
“Boko Haram killed people in Shikwa village,” he said. “Because of that I have come to Cameroon. Now I am refugee in Mafufu village because of Boko Haram.”
Abakura said he doesn’t know how many people were killed in the most recent attacks. He said he saw wounded people as he was escaping to Cameroon.
VOA could not independently verify accounts of fresh Boko Haram atrocities in border localities. But Cameroon and the displaced say Boko Haram attacks have increased in border regions over the past three weeks.
Cameroon’s government says host communities and charity groups are providing food and water to the newly arrived.
The World Food Program this week said it has a 40% shortfall of the $37.8 million it urgently needs to provide food and other humanitarian assistance to several million people in Cameroon, including displaced Nigerians.
The displaced Nigerians come as Cameroon is struggling to contain a cholera outbreak triggered by floods on its northern border with Nigeria and Chad.
Logone and Chari reported 48 new cases of cholera this week.
Manouda Malachie, Cameroon’s minister of Public Health, said the government and humanitarian agencies have deployed health workers to the northern border with Nigeria to treat all cholera cases there. He said health workers are educating displaced persons and host communities on prevention measures, which he said are to respect basic hygiene rules.
Manaouda said he asked health workers to pay particular attention on the northern border because Nigeria also has reported a cholera outbreak.
Boko Haram attacks have left more than 36,000 people dead, mainly in Nigeria, while 3 million have been forced to flee their homes, according to the United Nations.