Struggling communities in Cameroon and Nigeria have hosted refugees who have been living in dire situations for the past eleven years without any way of returning to their original countries.
Most of the refugees who cross into Cameroon are said to have been on the run for close to eight days before they can find help. The situation in Cameroon is the same as that in Nigeria. Refugees cross the River State Southeastern side of the country. They reach the capital city Calabar hoping for greener pastures but often at times these refugees turn into destitutes who have no one to turn to.
In an interview with Vatican News, Fr Emmanuel Bekomson Director of the Archdiocese of Calabar’s Justice Development Peace Commission (JDPC) said:
“One of the refugees shared a heart-breaking experience. He was in bed when in the middle of the night he heard shouting, a lot of noise and then the sound of a gun. He just got out of bed and ran. He was not even properly dressed. He was in his boxer shorts and had to flee the attack on his village just as he was. They ran into the bush where they were for seven to eight days. Feeding was a major problem. A lot of lives have been lost (in the anglophone regions), and people are scared for their lives.”
The communities have inadequate accommodation, food, water, sanitation and mosquito nets. As a result of the influx of refugees, local infrastructure has been stretched to the limit and the impact on already poor and struggling host communities is visible. However, the communities have built temporary infrastructures to house these refugees while waiting to build a centre where newly arrived refugees would be housed as they await processing.