Urgent CAR: Bororo Peuhls call for immediate action of Chadian and Cameroonian governments
"Doing nothing would be suicidal. We are calling upon Governments and partners mentioned in this Memorandum to come to rescue this community in distress."
13 February: Memorandum to the Government of Cameroun, Government of Chad, Humanitarian Agencies, and the International Community
We, Bororo Peuhls of CAR through our organization the Association for Integration and Social Development of Bororo Peuhls,(AIDSPC) have come to inform you about the situation of Centrafrican Peuhls; a minority community, marginalised and very often easy victim of successive crisis that our country has experienced.
We keep and rear livestock which seldom belong to us. For a couple of years, whenever there is a regime change, we are victims of retaliation: the new regime accusing us of "being in the pay" of the previous one.
For instance, when Mr Ange Felix Patasse took over in 1993, people around the president and his presidential guard members arrested and mistreated Bororo Peuhls pastoralists accusing them of being farm workers and supporters of his predecessor André Dieudonnée Konligba.
Later on, after the fall of President Patasse, members close to his counterpart Fancois Bozize, did also arrest people arbitrarily and ransommed our community, accusing us of being "Road Spoilers and supporters of President Ange Félix Patassé.
Last year, when only 300 Centrafrican Peuhls joined Séléka, the whole community was stigmatised by Mr Bozize's regime which thereafter launched a retaliation against us.
After its coup, Seleka accused us of being accomplices and working for personalities from former regime.That's why since last year, we are victims of murder and distorsions. Under Seleka, illegal "grazing rights" were imposed to us ranging between 500,000 and 10,000,000 CFA francs per family depending on the size of one's cattle. This ransom is ten times more than what was imposed under Francois Bozize's regime.
It is now anti-Balaka who are killing, raping and murdering Bororo Peulhs because of their affiliation to muslim religion while accusing them of acting in connivance with Selekas. All these executions and human rights violations have occasioned massive displacements of people out of the country where their situation is far from favarobale.
In Cameroon, community members who ran away from CAR and managed to cross Camerounian border, have not yet been put under HCR protection. Some of them are still stranded at the border for reasons that are unknown to us.
According to our representatives, Centrafrican Peulhs inside the Camerounian territory could be around 22,580 refugies mostly women and children. The latter have huge difficulties to register with HCR and International Red Cross because our communities are not used to living in towns and mingle with other communities. We have been informed that at Kentzou, a Camerounian town situated at 120km from Bertoua, East Cameroun region capital, Centrafrican Bororo Peul community has already registered several deaths among which children less than 5 years succumbed to paludism and malnutrition. We have also been informed about unwanted abortions due to lack of antenatal clinic consultations. Same cases are also registered in Garoua-Baoulai town at 244 km from Bertoua.
There could also be more than 15,800 still stranded in Centrafrique because of lack of transport means to enable their respective families reach the border. Bororo Peuhls refugies we are referring to, are right now in the bush. Their cambs have been attacked by anti-Balakas and their livestock stolen by Selekas. They are looking for ways to join inhabited areas but they do no longer have money to move. To cross Chad and Cameroun Borders, they are sometimes required to pay illegal taxes of 5000 Francs per family to allow them to cross.
In Chad, several Centrafrican Peuhls are stationned in Eastern region of Logone and Chari-Baguimie with a strong presence in rural areas (border areas with CAR) and in town peripheries such as Doba, Gore, Moyenne-Silo, Maro and Sahr. Whole families which are not under any protection.
According to our representatives, Centrafrican Peuhls refugies in Chad are subdivided as folllows: 3000 (Moyenne-Sido), 2435 (Sahr), 350 (N'djamena), 4320 (Gore) 2500 (moundou). Most of them are not sure about contacting HCR for fear of being marginalised again like in their country of origin.
It is important to note that several farms not harvested were devastated on the Chadian soil by some cattle belonging to Centrafrican Peuhls who crossed the border with some of their cattle. A strong insecurity for people and goods is felt in towns, brought about by the circulation of light weapons.
We request the government of Cameroun to facilitate border crossing for this community, victim of all sorts of violences, denial of their rights and accord them fair hopsitality according to international law.
We request government of Chad to intervene without delay in Doba, Gore, Moyenne-Sido, Maro and Sahr towns to provide security to Centrafrican Peuhls refugies and protection according to international law.
We request HCR, international partners and the international community, while awaiting for stabilisation of our country of origin and calm to return, to use all needed means to settle Bororo Peuhl refugies, taking care of them during this difficult period, supporting them with material, financial and judicial assistance and help them to re-settle in their country of origin when time comes. We request HCR and Red Cross International to put in place, liasing wth our Representatives, a specific establishment adapted to the Peuhl community. The International Community must help to identify and bring to book through competent juridictions those responsible for crimes and rights violations, accord international forces deployed in CAR the mandate to provide security to Bororos Peuhls who are in camps.
Looking forward to receiving the attention we deserve through this memorandum, we sincerely thank you.
Mr WAZIRI Mr Aladji Ousmanou ALIHOU
President AIDSPC, refugee in Ndjamena (Chad) Head Communication AIDSPC, refugee in Berboua (Cameroon)