15 May 2019

Cameroon: Crisis Reaches Alarming Levels

Photo: M.E. Kindzeka/VOA
Women protest, holding up a poster with images of atrocities committed in an ongoing conflict between government forces and armed separatists, in Bamenda, Cameroon, Sept. 7, 2018.

Yaounde — THE security situation in Cameroon is spiraling out of control as the country faces attacks by the Boko Haram, deadly conflicts in English-speaking regions and a surge of refugees from neighbouring countries.

Some 4,3 million people - a sixth of the population- need humanitarian assistance across the Central African country.

This is a 30 percent increase from last year. More than half of the victims are children.

Dozens of schools have been destroyed with pupils and teachers kidnapped. Hospitals have been attacked too while doctors abducted to unknown destinations.

While over the years Cameroon has been experiencing attacks by the Boko Haram and an influx of refugees from troubled neighbouring countries such as the Central African Republic (CAR) and Nigeria, protests by English-speaking regions over alleged marginalisation by the government dominated by French speakers are tearing the country apart.

The crisis in the North-West and South-West regions have turned violent, with protesters and state security personnel killed.

"The level of the crisis today is more alarming than ever," lamented Mark Lowcock, United Nations' (UN's) senior envoy in Cameroon.

He was addressing the Security Council, the UN's supreme organ.

Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, expressed shock at the scale and brutality of the crisis.

"If we do not act today, lives will be lost. The future of a generation of Cameroonians hangs in the balance," Egeland grieved.

UN and NGOs require about $300 million (R4,3 billion) to address the crisis but only $38 million (R545 million) has been so far received.

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