East Region – CAR Refugees Integrate, Begin Reconciliation

In Gado Badzere Camp near Garoua Boulai, the thousands of men and women have put their recent traumatic past behind them.

To the over 21,000 Central African Republic, CAR, refugees in the 55-heactare Gado Badzere Camp near Garoua Boulai in Lom and Djerem Division of East Region, life has begun all over. This follows the violence they suffered back home before fleeing to Cameroon. Their ordeal began in March 2013 when Michel Djotodia and his Seacuteleacuteka rebels seized power from President Frnccedilois Bozizeacute in Bangui.

Then followed a long spell of ethnic, religious and generalized bloodletting that saw thousands killed and hundreds of thousands taking refuge in Internally-displaced People, IDP camps or abroad. Traumatic as the war experiences were, these people have since come to terms with the fact that life has to continue, even in a foreign land. Thanks to the warm welcome of local people, Cameroonian authorities, the United Nations and relief agencies, the refugees have also begun a new mood of life.

Addressing Kyung-wha Kang, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, in Gado Badzere on February 15, 2015, Ndeye Ndour, the UNHCR Resident Representative for Cameroon, said the refugees were integrating well into their new abode. She cited the example of Mbororo women now mixing freely with their men folk, which was hitherto unheard of in their culture. She said Mbororo men and women now sit and discuss together, facilitated in part by sports, cultural and commercial activities with natives of Gado Badzere village.

Similarly, continuous sensitisation by local authorities and aid agency staff on the need for peaceful cohabitation has helped in fostering a bond of greater understanding among the camp residents who come from various ethnic backgrounds. As a result, Ndeye Ndour acknowledged, the refugees are beginning to forgive and forget the atrocities visited on them back home only so recently.

Source : Cameroon Tribune

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