AT least 123 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the year during the conflict in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon. Communities are demanding self-rule from the Central African country.
They cite marginalisation by the government of President Paul Biya, with a majority of officials from the majority French-speaking zones.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) disclosed the death toll, which could be higher since the figures are for the period covering January to March. The crisis is escalating in the North-West and South-West regions. UNICEF reported that during the period, no less than 187 people had been injured in the clashes perpetrated by the Ambazonian militants, who are running battles against the military and civilians.
Some 539 people were arrested during military searches or operations in both regions. In the North-West and South-West, at least ten lockdown days were imposed and observed during official events organized by the Cameroonian government. Most localities in these regions continue to comply with the ongoing,
so-called Monday ghost town days. However, humanitarian organizations report that during this reporting period, 11 civilians were killed for not observing the curfews.
In the northwestern division of Momo, humanitarian activities, including food movements, were suspended due to roadblocks mounted by non-state armed groups. Elsewhere, suspected members of Boko Haram from neighbouring Nigeria are terrorising communities. An estimated 1 652 people have been newly displaced due to this ongoing insecurity in the Far North. There, unidentified gunmen abducted 8 civilians in February.
Torrential rains have exacerbated matters in the South-West region. Rains that struck the city of Buea in March caused mudslides that affected an estimated 900 people.At least two fatalities, four injuries and one person missing were documented. Water supply infrastructure and latrines serving over 3 000 people were damaged.
Without immediate funding of US$940 000) required by UNICEF, there will be a shortage of ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF), leaving over 20 000 children aged 0-59 months without treatment and an increased risk of death. The secessionist crisis in the country of 28 million started in 2017, leaving hundreds dead. Critics also accuse Biya of rigging elections.
Aged 90 and in power since 1975 as Prime Minister and in 1982 as president, he is the longest consecutively serving current non-royal national leader and the oldest head of state in the world.
– CAJ News