UNHCR appeals for open borders for Nigerians fleeing Islamic uprising, military crackdown

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is appealing to Nigeria's neighbors to keep their borders open for Nigerians fleeing an Islamic uprising after 15 people were killed when Cameroon attempted to forcibly repatriate them.

Spokeswoman Kathryn Mahoney said Wednesday those killed were among 111 Nigerians arrested for being undocumented. Cameroonian police transported them to the border Oct. 5 where gunfire erupted that wounded another seven.

The rest are under arrest in Cameroon where Mahoney said UNHCR is trying to determine if they need protection.

The UNHCR also appealed against any forced returns.

The Associated Press documented 20,000 Nigerians in Cameroon in July when Nigerian officials visited Cameroon, Niger and Chad to ask people to return home. Refugees said they are as scared of abusive soldiers as the Islamic insurgents.