5,000 Central African Republic (CAR) refugees have fled to eastern Cameroon following clashes between the
army and rebel groups in the country.
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) says more than 30,000 Central Africans have fled their
country since the 27 December presidential elections, seeking refuge in
Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo-Brazzaville.
The UNHCR says that at
least 500 Central African refugees enter Cameroon every day.
Almost every refugee arriving here has a story of the
horror and pain of losing loved ones in fleeing the conflict.
Rebels under the Coalition of Patriots for Change, who
now control two thirds of the territory, have overrun several key towns in CAR as they
mobilise towards the capital, Bangui, following the December elections, the results of which they reject.
Cesar Tshilombo, the UNCHR's deputy country representative in
Cameroon, says the new arrivals have been reporting cases of
abuse, looting and violence.
Mr Tshilombo says the new wave of refugees means more
pressure will be put on scarce resources.
Cameroon's Minister of Territorial Administration,
Paul Atanga Nji, who was in
Garoua-Boulaï, an area bordering CAR, over the weekend to assess the situation, says he is worried that the influx
of refugees could constitute a security risk.
As of December last year, Cameroon was already host to more than 316,000 CAR refugees, according to the UNHCR.
A voluntary repatriation process had been under way, but the recent spike in violence means
that process has to be stalled.
Cameroon arrests dozens of suspected hostage-takers
BBC News, Yaoundé
Thirty-three people have been arrested on suspicion of taking hostages and selling contraband goods in Cameroon's North and Adamawa regions.
Motorbikes and illegal drugs were also confiscated in the operation code-named Adano, the military says.
A spokesman said there had been a recent spike in criminal activity in the northern regions' borders with Nigeria and the Central African Republic (CAR) - including trafficking of various forms and customs fraud.
Cameroon's northern regions have become focal points for kidnappers, with cattle breeders there being the main targets.
In 2018 alone, at
least 250 people were kidnapped in Adamawa and North regions, several of them killed by their
kidnappers, according to the Association for the Promotion of Animal Husbandry
in the Sahel and Savannah.
The kidnapping crisis began in 2013 at the height of CAR's civil conflict.
Rebels from CAR and Chad involved in the war, with the complicity of local
criminals, began kidnapping cattle breeders and demanding ransoms.
Some $3.6m (£2.8m) has been paid in ransom between 2015 and 2018,
according to several breeders' associations.
Pope baptises twins after surgery to separate them
Italian news agencies report that previously conjoined twins have been baptised by Pope Francis in the Vatican City.
Ervina and Prefina, whose skulls were fused together, underwent surgery there last month.