Handbook on Human Security, Borders and Migration
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Handbook on Human Security, Borders and Migration

Edited by Natalia Ribas-Mateos and Timothy J. Dunn

Drawing on the concept of the ‘politics of compassion’, this Handbook interrogates the political, geopolitical, social and anthropological processes which produce and govern borders and give rise to contemporary border violence.
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Chapter 25: Impact of the permanent crisis in the Central African Republic on Cameroonian return migrants

Henri Yambene Bomono

Abstract

Going South towards Cameroon, Yambene (also on the line of Rosales Saldivar´s chapter)show us how the state basically abdicated its role to care for the safety and well-being of its returning citizens. This is very important finding when discussing the border implications for Cameroonian return migrants from Central African Republic (CAR) that had previously were migrants in CAR. The context is a long term violence as, since the 1960s the history of the CARis marked by political insecurity. Recurrent episodes of violence, banditry, rebellion and successive overthrow of government can be observed. Today the country is mostly controlled by criminal armed groups struggling among themselves to appropriate the country's resources. This insecurity mainly affects the frontal areas and therefore neighbouring countries. With CAR, Cameroon shares a long border of 797 kilometres. It is located in eastern Cameroon and west of the Central African Republic. Historical and geographical links unite the two countries. On both sides of the Cameroonian-CAR border, societal composition is almost identical. The two dominant ethnic groups are the Fulani and Gbaya. This means that in this neighbouring region, inhabitants share the challenges of security and humanitarian crises due to CAR's troubled history. Because of countless government overthrows, rebellions and mutinies in CAR, many CAR nationals and Cameroonian citizens have lost their lives and property. The 2013-2014 crisis is a perfect illustration. The putsch of March 2013 of Michel Djotodia, supported by the Seleka militia composed mostly of Muslims, first led to Cameroon a population flows composed mostly of Gbaya suspected of being pro-Bozize, the deposed president. The chapter highlights the experiences of Cameroonian migrants during and after the CAR crisis of 2013-2014 with a focus on key actors that participated in the provision of evacuation, return and reintegration assistance and returnees’ re-integration experiences in Cameroon. It is a case study to demonstrate how the repeated crises in CAR endanger the lives of many people on the border of this country. Insecurity in the border is a long-term issue and evolves according to the political context. The research demonstrates concrete ways in which migrants have adopted a range of strategies to flee the host country and also that crisis has long-lasting implications for the mental health of migrants. Discrimination, xenophobia violence, harassment, beatings and also horrific scenes of people butchered with cutlasses, rape and torture were reported.

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