IOM Brings Home Chadian and Malian Migrants Stranded in Cameroon

By International Office of Migration (IOM)
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GENEVA, Switzerland, November 28, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- On Tuesday (25/11), 650 Chadian and Malian migrants stranded in Cameroon returned home with IOM's help.

When the fighting broke out in the Central African Republic (CAR) in December last year, thousands of migrants fled to neighbouring Cameroon to find refuge. Cameroon became host to some 17,086 foreign nationals from several West African Countries, including some 15,572 Chadians and Malians. Since then, hundreds of stranded Chadians and Malians have made the long journey home to rebuild their lives.

“For most of them, the return is difficult,” said Roger Charles Evina, IOM Chief of Mission in Cameroon. “Most of them had lived in CAR for two or three generations. It was home for them. They were mainly traders. Some owned small shops. They were sad to leave when the fighting broke out, but living in camps has also been difficult for them.”

Foreign nationals from 16 countries became stranded in Cameroon as a result of the CAR conflict. IOM repatriated 5,298 Chadians and 702 Malians this year between February and August.

Tuesday's operation, organized by IOM and funded by the US State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, moved 449 Chadian migrants by bus from a transit site in Garoua Boulai to Djako, in Chad. The journey took two days.

On the same day, 201 Malian migrants left another transit camp in Kentzou to travel with IOM by bus to Yaounde. They were then flown to the Malian capital Bamako yesterday (27/11) in a plane chartered by the Malian government. IOM provided land transport, food and medical escorts during the journey.