Agency to sign CAR refugee repatriation deal

Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR) and UNHCR will soon sign an agreement for the return home of over 278,000 CAR nationals who fled to Cameroon to escape sectarian violence.

The mayhem between 2013 and 2015 left thousands dead.

“The tripartite agreement between Cameroon, the Central African Republic and UNHCR is scheduled to be signed sometime soon,” Mr Etien Kouassi Lazare, the refugee agency representative in Cameroon told the Africareview in Yaoundé on Tuesday.

While awaiting the signing of the deal, Cameroon and UNHCR were working together to improve the living conditions of both the local and refugees populations in the east, Adamawa and north regions through the support to the host municipalities.

Worst crisis

The programme was launched in Yaounde on Tuesday.

CAR, one of the world’s poorest countries, descended into turmoil in March 2013 following the overthrow of leader Francois Bozize by the Seleka rebels, which triggered the country's worst crisis since its independence from France in 1960.

An already fragile population was plunged into crisis.

According to statistics from the UNHCR, there were 278,136 CAR refugees in Cameroon as of April this year.

Raising tensions

Of the number, some 259,145 were based in rural areas of the border regions of the east, Adamawa and north and 18,991 in the urban areas of Yaoundé and Douala.

Cameroon also has 223,642 Internally Displaced Persons in the Boko Haram-prone Far North region, according to the UNHCR protection monitoring flash updates of March 2017.

Meanwhile, food shortages in northern Cameroon were raising tensions between local communities and Nigerian refugees displaced by the Boko Haram conflict.

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