Thousands of Nigerians flee gunbattle to Cameroon

Thousands of northeast Nigerian residents took refuge in Cameroon`s Far North region to flee Sunday`s gunbattle between the Boko Haram Islamist group and the coalition of Chadian and Nigerian armies, a Cameroonian military source said on Monday.

IANS| Updated: Mar 09, 2015, 18:45 PM IST

Yaounde: Thousands of northeast Nigerian residents took refuge in Cameroon`s Far North region to flee Sunday`s gunbattle between the Boko Haram Islamist group and the coalition of Chadian and Nigerian armies, a Cameroonian military source said on Monday.

The source, declining to be named, told Xinhua news agency that more than 100 families, including a large number of children, fled to Cameroon after fresh fighting broke out in northeast Nigeria.

The Far North region of Cameroon already hosts more than 30,000 Nigerian refugees. The new Nigerian refugees are now living in the open air in Makari town.

The source said the refugees` move coincided with the sending of food and materials by Nigerian authorities to the people in distress. The donations were sent in 12 large trucks and delivered on Sunday in Maroua, capital of the Far North region.

Residents who live in north Nigeria have been fleeing to Cameroon since the beginning of the insurrection of Boko Haram in 2009, but this is the first time the Nigerian government has offered humanitarian aid to Cameroon, according to the source.

The Chadian government has sent troops to Cameroon and Nigeria to help the countries fight the Boko Haram since mid-January this year.

Sunday`s fighting between Boko Haram and the army left three Chadian soldiers dead. The fighting took place a day after Boko Haram announced on the internet its allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group.