Nigerians have begun to flee their homes in droves for neighboring Cameroon seeking refuge from the jihadist terror group Boko Haram. A three-day siege upon the town of Gamboru, in northeastern Borno state, led its residents to flee across the border to Cameroon border, where a burgeoning refugee crisis is developing.
“We’ve been flooded here in [the border town of] Mora by Cameroonians and Nigerians fleeing Boko Haram,” said one official in the Cameroonian town. “The day before yesterday (Friday), there were already more than 10,000 people in Mora. Not a day goes by without more people coming.”
Boko Haram killed over 29 people attempting to flee their latest attack, but 215 youths made it to Fotokol, Cameroon, 141 miles from Gamboru. These youths told officials what residents endured in three days. Boko Haram forced people between 18 and 25 to fight against the Nigerian and Cameroon army. If anyone resisted, they were slaughtered immediately.
“I had no alternative, other than to join my colleagues by dawn yesterday to flee for our safety,” said one of the children. “These gunmen had been telling us to join them to fight our soldiers here and at the borders with Cameroon and Chad; after promising us some money and rifles ‘to do the work of God’. But some of us decided to take our fate in our hands by fleeing to Cameroon. By noon yesterday (Sunday), about 215 of us converged on Fotokol with broken limbs and bruises, while fleeing to cross the River and bushes with desert tracks. Once they sighted you fleeing, they shoot you, as we have refused to join them.”
“They were asking all of us here in Cameroon to join them; and fight the soldiers, but we collectively decided not to, because these gunmen can never be trusted,” he continued. “It has happened not only in Gambouru, but most of the Borno towns and villages were attacked with the displacement of many residents and villagers.”
Cameroon registers anyone from Nigeria who fled because of Boko Haram.
“People are everywhere: in schools, under trees and in the markets,” said one officer. “They’re all coming from Cameroonian and Nigerian villages in the Kerawa area.”
Kerawa is on the border and a constant target of Boko Haram.
Boko Haram is based in northeast Nigeria, mainly in Borno State. Gamboru and Maiduguri, Borno State’s capital, are popular targets. In 2013, the terrorists attacked pharmacies, raising medicine prices. In May, over 300 people died after the group attacked Gamboru and Ngala for two days. The militants destroyed a bridge that connected Gamboru to Nigeria [do you mean Cameroon? Gamboru is in Nigeria] just a few days later.