Militias prevent civilians from fleeing Central African Republic: UNHCR

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Christian militias in the Central African Republic, known as the anti-Balaka, are preventing civilians from fleeing the conflict to Cameroon, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The agency says the militias are blocking main roads and attacking Muslims, most of whom are women and children.

Those who have arrived in Cameroon have told UNHCR that the men said they had stayed behind to create self-defence groups to protect their community and cattle.

UNHCR Spokesperson Melisa Fleming says the refugees had to wade through the bush for up to three months to avoid the militias before reaching the border.

"We are extremely concerned about reports of anti-Balaka militiamen preventing civilians from leaving the Central African Republic and attacking them along the way. Over the past two weeks, our colleagues in Cameroon have been seeing refugees arrive with wounds from machetes or with gunshots wounds and they are also witnessing an increase in the number of people arriving crossing into Cameroon via remote border entry points." (27")

The UN Refugee Agency says despite the intimidation, an average of 10,000 people are crossing weekly from the Central African Republic to Cameroon.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 1’21″

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