Thursday, December 12, 2019

The horrifying figures of insecurity in Cameroon in 2019 as recorded

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are concerned about Boko Haram attacks in the north and fighting between military and separatists in the English-speaking regions.

In the Cameroonian villages bordering Nigeria, the incursions of Boko Haram are multiplying. Not a day without the count of the dead growing. Between January and November, at least 275 people were killed in jihadist group attacks in the Far North region, the equivalent of 25 per month, according to Amnesty International. Among the victims, 225 were civilians, notes the NGO in a statement issued Wednesday, December 11. 

"The people we met live in terror. Many have already witnessed Boko Haram attacks and lost relatives or acquaintances. They no longer wonder if there will be new attacks, but when, "said Samira Daoud, Amnesty International's director for West and Central Africa. The human rights organization documented the jihadist group's abuses, looting, house and health center fires, cattle thefts ... 

Ears cut 

The testimonies are chilling, like those recounting the attack on the village of Gakara, on the night of July 29 to 30. Boko Haram members found a 9 or 10-year-old boy with his grandmother and a blind old man and wanted to kidnap him. "The child clutched his grandmother with all his strength, crying and saying that he did not want to leave. The members of Boko Haram then shot the boy and the old man, "says a witness quoted by the NGO. During another raid in the same town, three women between 27 and 40 years old had one ear cut off. "The attackers told us that they did that because they could not catch our husbands and that next time they would kill us, "says one of the victims. 

In Tourou Township, which includes sixteen predominantly Christian villages, a 36-year-old woman and a teenager were abducted and forced to convert to Islam. Before they managed to escape, they were forced to perform ablutions and follow the principles of the Muslim religion as practiced locally.

Faced with this renewed violence, people feel abandoned. Because, as a witness quoted by Amnesty reminds us, "the problem is that Boko Haram is in the bush and the soldiers in town: the time they arrive is already too late." Many inhabitants and traditional chiefs questioned by Le Monde Africa are protesting against the "closing of military posts" in some villages of the Far North. Many assure that the soldiers are sent to the northwest and southwest, the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon, where the army has been conducting a closed-door war against separatists since 2017. 

Houses burned 

In a report published Tuesday titled "Cameroon: the humanitarian response must be made more inclusive," Human Rights Watch (HRW) is worried about the resurgence of fighting in the English-speaking zone. Since July, at least 130 civilians have been killed in more than 100 incidents, according to the NGO. To find a solution to this crisis, which has already left more than 1,800 dead and more than 650,000 internally displaced, a "grand national dialogue" was organized from 30 September to 4 October, but it was marked by the absence of separatist leaders and boycotting some political parties. It was followed by the release of English-speaking and political prisoners. 

Despite these signs of appeasement, HRW asserts that "the violence has continued at a steady pace" and that the humanitarian situation has deteriorated. In October, 10 aid workers were kidnapped by the separatists before being released. In November, another was killed. 

This degradation also affects people with disabilities, who, too, have been killed, assaulted and tortured by soldiers or separatists. HRW has collected testimonies from these men and women, forgotten, who can not flee in a safe place during the exchange of fire. Some even confided to having witnessed the burning of their house by the Cameroonian army. "While the crisis in the English-speaking regions shows no signs of slowing down, people with disabilities are struggling to stay safe and face increased risks of attacks, displacement and abandonment," said Shantha Rau Barriga. , HRW Disability Rights Officer. The NGO calls for a "more inclusive humanitarian response".