Amid an ongoing external crisis and an internal crisis that has recently reignited, Cameroon’s government has been responsible for increased migration activity on its border with Nigeria. While both crises are not recent developments, the month of October has seen their escalation.
Nigerian Refugees Forced Back into Nigeria
Since 2009, Boko Haram has led an insurgency in northern Nigeria and in other neighboring countries in the Chad River Basin, including Cameroon. According to UNHCR, this has lead to the internal displacement of over 1.75 million Nigerians, the external displacement of 204,000 Nigerians and the internal displacement of 482,000 in Chad, Niger and Cameroon. As a result of the insurgency reaching Cameroon, the Cameroonian military has led a campaign of forcing Nigerian refugees back to Nigeria. Since 2015, this campaign has resulted in the deportation and abuse of over 100,000 Nigerian refugees, according to a Human Right’s Watch report, dated September 27.
Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis Generates its First Refugees
On September 22, an estimated 30,000 to 80,000 people in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions went to the streets. Cameroon’s Anglophones have long felt discriminated in the predominantly French-speaking country. With rising tensions, the Cameroonian military has tried to quell the protests and as a result civilian deaths have occurred. With these developments, experts fear that a conflict might continue between Anglophone secessionist and Paul Biya’s government. As a result the month of October has seen the conflict birth its first refugees as 2,000 Anglophone Cameroonians crossed the southern border into Nigeria. Accordingly, UNHCR has prepared a contingency plan for as many as 40,000 people fleeing Cameroon.