The children fleeing the Balaka and Seleka violence in the Central African Republic and those escaping the Boko Haram carnage in Nigeria have all been abandoned to their mums on the streets in places like Maroua in the Extreme Nord, Douala and Yaoundé, Cameroon Concord has learnt. Today marks the beginning of a new academic year in Cameroon and refugee children from Nigeria and CAR were not part of it. Our cream of reporters assigned to cover what is known in Cameroon as “rentree scolaire” were shocked to find refugee kids instead helping their mums to sell peanuts at the entrance of major shopping malls in Yaoundé and Douala.
All attempts by Cameroon Concord at getting Prime Minister Yang Philemon to comment on this very disturbing situation met with a stone wall. A Cameroon Red Cross official who spoke to Cameroon Concord earlier today observed that Cameroon has never seen this large scale of influx of refugees into the country. He revealed that some Red Cross personnel had appealed to both the Nigerian and Central African diplomatic missions in Yaoundé to help the kids join their Cameroonian counterpart in going back to school but the embassy officials particularly those of Nigeria are only interested in the next presidential elections in their country. We of this publication are calling on the government of Prime Minister Yang Philemon to take the necessary steps that will enable all refugee children in Cameroon to have complete access to free education as define by the UN Charter on the protection of refugee rights.