The United Nations said Friday it was “extremely alarmed” by the forced return by Cameroon of thousands of refugees to northeast Nigeria, where Boko Haram Islamists pose a continuing threat to civilians.
“This action was totally unexpected and puts lives of thousands of refugees at risk,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.
“I am appealing to Cameroon to continue its open door and hospitable policy and practices and halt immediately any more returns and to ensure full compliance with its refugee protection obligations under its own national legislation, as well as international law.”
Cameroon is currently home to more than 370,000 refugees, including some 100,000 from Nigeria
Earlier this month, more than 9,000 people fled to Cameroon after an attack on a military base and aid buildings in the town of Rann in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state.
The attack was blamed on the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) faction of Boko Haram, which has carried out similar raids against troops since July last year.
The upsurge in violence has forced tens of thousands of people to flee, including internally displaced people who have returned home after previous attacks.