More than 15,000 Cameroonian refugees have fled to Nigeria amid a crackdown on Anglophone separatists, the United Nations (UN) refugee agency and Nigerian government officials said on Thursday.
More than 8,000 refugees have been registered in the southeastern state of Cross River alone, said Antonio Jose Canhandula, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) representative in Nigeria, at a briefing in Abuja.
A further 6,700 or so Cameroonian refugees have crossed into neighboring Benue state.
There are also at least 350 refugees in the states of Taraba and Akwa Ibom.
The refugees are mostly children, women and the elderly, with very few young men.
More food assistance, education and social services are needed, particularly as a number of the women are pregnant at a young age, were are all issues.
Nigerian and Cameroonian officials have met to discuss the refugees and those talks are ongoing.
The once-fringe English-speaking movement in majority French-speaking Cameroon has gathered pace in the last few months after a military crackdown on protests, leading it to declare independence in October for a breakaway “Ambazonia” state it wants to create.