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CAR/Chad/Cameroon meeting parciticpants stress region's poor resources, HC emphasises need for security

Briefing notes

CAR/Chad/Cameroon meeting parciticpants stress region's poor resources, HC emphasises need for security

7 October 2005

High Commissioner António Guterres met yesterday with officials from the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad and Cameroon to discuss the worrisome security situation in northern and western parts of CAR. As you know, we've been reporting various population movements from northern CAR for some months and the situation there remains very unstable.

UNHCR supports calls for more international assistance to CAR to help stabilise the north, where various armed groups and general lawlessness have caused some 10,000 people to flee north to Chad since June, joining another 30,000 CAR refugees who were already there. We fear that if more international support is not forthcoming, we could well see more displacement to both Chad and Cameroon.

Some 200 new CAR refugees arrived in southern Chad last week following an attack that reportedly emptied the town of Markounda. Eastern Cameroon has also received 6,500 CAR refugees, mainly from the Bororo group, following attacks by armed groups in western CAR in early 2005. Some of the refugees reported that their children had been kidnapped by the attackers.

The participants in yesterday's meeting emphasised that CAR has extremely few resources to deal with the insecurity in the north. Communications are poor throughout the affected region and border areas of all three countries.

The High Commissioner stressed that a restoration of security in the region was a prerequisite for any voluntary return of refugees, as well as for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the displaced. Participants also reiterated the need for development assistance to restore agriculture and basic infrastructure.

Meanwhile, UNHCR is continuing its repatriation of 1,500 Chadians who have spent the past two decades in northern CAR and now want to return home. As of today, we have already transported 976 of them to Amboko camp, in south Chad. The fourth and last convoy is leaving Bangui, the capital of CAR, today (Friday) and is expected to reach Goré, the main city in southern Chad on Saturday.