7,000 Central African Republic refugees arrive in Chad

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YAOUNDE, Cameroon 

At least 7,000 refugees from the Central African Republic have arrived in Chad for the past few days, the UN refugee agency said on Sunday.

In a series of tweets, the UNHCR said that as of March 31, some 107,280 Central African refugees and asylum seekers were living in Chad.

The situation in the landlocked African country worsened after the rejection of former President Francois Bozize’s candidacy for the December 2020 presidential election.

Hostilities between a coalition of non-state armed groups and the government forces have continued over the last four months, plunging the country into a new cycle of violence.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Chadian authorities have kept the country’s border open and allowed access to asylum to thousands of refugees who have been fleeing since the beginning of this year.

Earlier this month, the UNHCR said it is working with the government and partners to relocate thousands of refugees to safer and better-equipped sites further from the border.

The Central African Republic is one of the world’s poorest countries and has been facing one of the 10 most under-reported humanitarian crises for five years in a row.

It has been troubled by unrest for years, but since May 2017, fresh and fierce clashes between armed groups have wrought increasing suffering, deaths, and destruction of property.

Violence and insecurity following the December 2020 general election have also forced tens of thousands more to flee, according to the UNHCR.

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