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Over 9,000 people have fled Central African Republic- UN

By The Citizen
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The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has said that no fewer than 9,000 people, including 43 Nigerians, have fled Central African Republic in the past 10 days to seek reguge in Cameroon.

A statement from the UNHCR spokesperson, Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba, in Geneva said during the period, 8,762 people of various nationalities had crossed into the town of Kentzou in eastern Cameroon.

According to the UNHCR spokesperson, the number of new arrivals who had crossed into eastern Cameroon include  4,764 Central Africans, 3,424 Chadians, 1,497 Cameroonians and 10 Malians.

“This brings the number of CAR refugees in Cameroon to more than 20,000 since the CAR crisis began,” Lejeune-Kaba said.

The UN refugee agency quoted the new arrivals as saying they fled because of confrontations between the former Seleka and anti-Balaka militiamen in the capital, Bangui and other towns in the north- west, such as Bour, Baboua, Beloko and Cantonnier.

It said some also fled from intense fighting in the areas of Berberati, Carnot, Baoro and Gambala while others fled because of fear that the anti-Balaka militiamen were advancing towards their areas.

Lejeune-Kaba said UNHCR had also approached various embassies to take charge of their citizens and added that Central Africans registered by UNHCR as refugees are mainly women and children.

They include 43 pregnant women and 89 people living with disability and in need of special attention, the spokesperson said.

According to the UNHCR, almost 840,000 people are displaced inside the CAR with no immediate prospect for their return home.

The UN agency has warned of a worsening humanitarian crisis as the rainy season begins, as there is a high risk of cholera and other public health issues.

On Feb. 1, Nigeria pledged 1.5 million dollars at an international donor summit at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa to support African-led International Mission (MISCA) in the Central African Republic.

Nigeria’s Minister of State 2 for Foreign Affairs, Nurudeen Mohammed, announced the pledge as 60 nations came together to raise money for the crisis-stricken CAR.

As at Jan. 6, the Nigerian government had evacuated 1,424 Nigerians who took refuge at the Nigerian Embassy in Bangui.

The Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mohammad Sani-Sidi, had said the evacuation would resume if more Nigerians appeared.