Cameroonian authorities: 25,000 displaced homeless to Chad by intersectarian violence

Cameroonian officials say at least 25,000 villagers from the northeast who fled sectarian fighting to neighboring Chad last month have returned. But hundreds were left homeless by fighting between ranchers and fishermen, and more than 75,000 people are reluctant to go home.

Cameroon’s Ministry of Territorial Administration says at least 25,000 citizens who fled inter-sectarian violence on its northern border to Chad have returned home.

A statement read on Monday on Cameroon state radio CRTV said civilians were returning as the area was peaceful once again.

Midjiawa Bakri, governor of Cameroon’s Far North region, said a December peace mission to persuade the armed men to give up their weapons was successful.

He spoke to VOA through a messaging application from Maraua, the capital of the Far North region.

Bakari said thousands of citizens who fled to Chad due to inter-sectarian violence between Arab Chao and ethnic Moosegoum have been returning to Cameroon every week since December 16. He said the returnees were responding to an appeal by Cameroonian President Paul Biya to return home. peace, and the development of their communities.

But Bakri said several hundred people were left homeless because their homes were burned in the conflict.

Officials say at least 10 people were killed and several were injured when a clash broke out between cattle herders and fishermen along the border over water and land on December 7.

The United Nations says violence between the two communities prompted at least 102,000 civilians to flee to neighboring Chad.

FILE - Cameroonians fleeing deadly inter-sectarian violence between Arab Choa herders and the Moosegoum and Massa farming communities receive food at a makeshift refugee camp on the outskirts of Nedjamena, Chad, December 13, 2021.

FILE – Cameroonians fleeing deadly inter-sectarian violence between Arab Choa herders and the Moosegoum and Massa farming communities receive food at a makeshift refugee camp on the outskirts of Nedjamena, Chad, December 13, 2021.

The 41-year-old mother of two, Anne Zigou, was among the civilians fleeing Chad.

She told CRTV that she had returned from the Chadian capital Nadjamena on January 2, when messengers sent by Cameroon’s government reassured her that she was safe.

Zigouy said fighting between Arab Chowa pastoralists and ethnic Moosegoum fishermen has caused pain to both communities. She said that some of the returnees have the privilege of staying in tent houses, while most sleep in the open air. He said that all of them needed house, water and food.

Cameroonian officials say many of the homeless were able to live with relatives or in village mosques or churches.

In Mayo Danay, on Cameroon’s border with Chad, the Minister of Youth Affairs and Civil Education is Maunauna Foutso.

He said some of the returnees are seeking help.

Foutso said that as community leader in Mayo Danay, he has an obligation to ask citizens living in Cameroon’s northern border to help their brothers and sisters return from Chad. He said that those not affected by the conflict should share their housing, food and water with civilians whose houses or fields were burnt during the conflict.

Cameroonian officials say they have rebuilt three markets that were burned in the conflict and are supplying food, seeds and mattresses to resettle those affected by the conflict.

But community leaders say more than 75,000 villagers who fled to Chad are still reluctant to return.

The Cameroonian Civil Society Organization says it would be difficult to convince those who fled to return without rebuilding the homes and plantations destroyed by the government.

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