NO fewer than 4,000 refugees from Southern Cameroon have invaded border communities in Kurmi and Ussa Local Government areas of Taraba State. The refugees, mostly women and children, fled their home country following escalation of hostilities between Francophone and Anglophone communities, over agitation for the independence of Southern Cameroon. Vanguard discovered that the host communities are groaning under the burden of increasing number of refugees, which could lead to humanitarian crisis in the area.
It’s ethnic cleansing— one of the refugees, Polycarp Ande, who fled from Furawa sub-division into Fikyu village, alleged that Cameroonian soldiers led the ethnic cleansing. According to him, hunger, lack of health care, lack of shelter and idleness were major challenges, which, he noted, in turn had ripple effects on their community, dominated by subsistence farmers. He explained that villagers and churches had been feeding them, and expressed worry over their increasing number amid meagre resources.
According to Ande, “some of our brothers, who went back to see how the situation was in our villages, keep running back as the onslaught is still going on. As at last Saturday, over 15 of our people came into Kpambo-piri in Ussa and more people keep coming into Nigeria every week. “Our children are the most affected because they can’t go to school and we want the government of Nigeria and the world to come to our aid.”
Village Head of Mubi-Toso, Yakubu Akama, and his counterpart in Fikyu village, Ukwe Ezra, in separate submissions, expressed concern over possible invasion of their terrain by the feuding parties. They further appealed to the Federal Government for adequate security and provision of relief materials for the refugees. It’s overwhelming, we need help.
Council boss and Chairman of Ussa Local Government Area, Rimamsikwe Hassan, for his part, lamented that the massive influx of Cameroonians into some communities in the council is overwhelming. He said: “The refugees have moved into Kpambo-piri, Jatau, Kanpiya and Fikyu village, with Fikyu having the least number of 250 refugees, including children, at the last count. “When they (refugees) first moved in, the Red Cross visited some of the villages to take statistics and promised to come back, but ever since they have not returned. We have equally written to the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally-Displaced Persons, NCFRMI, but yet to get a reply from them. “However, the state government through SEMA brought relief materials for the victims, but we also want the Federal Government to come in and liaise with the Cameroonian authorities.”