Cameroon: Security Forces And Armed Separatist Groups Preventing 700,000 People From Getting Immediate Humanitarian Assistance

By Amos Fofung

A Cameroonian aid worker conducting Covid-19 awareness campaign in the South-West region, May 15, 2020 (Photo: UnitedNationsCameroon)
A Cameroonian aid worker conducting Covid-19 awareness campaign in the South-West region, May 15, 2020 (Photo: UnitedNationsCameroon)

A coalition of international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) that deliver humanitarian assistance and support to Cameroon’s crisis-affected population in the North West and South West regions have raised concerns that humanitarian assistance might not get to the over 700,000 people in dire need.

The eight international NGOs – Action Against Hunger, International Rescue Committee, Norwegian Refugee Council, Plan International, and the Danish Refugee Council among others raised concern that actions of certain parties hinder their operations. – a move that has since been worsened with the rise in the infection rate of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint statement a copy sent to our newsroom, the INGOs emphasized their commitment to delivering humanitarian assistance to affected civilians adding that any aid provided is based on need and without discrimination or military objectives.

The statement did not point fingers or list any group responsible for hindering their activities, several reports have blamed Cameroon’s armed separatist for destroying humanitarian assistance and preventing aid to needy Cameroonians.

Earlier this year, one of the INGOs was accused of supporting armed groups in Cameroon. An accusation which the group denied.

In the July 6th joint statement, the nongovernmental organizations reiterated that they “remain committed to delivering humanitarian assistance to all civilian populations affected by the on-going crisis based on need and without discrimination, to saves live,” the statement partially reads.

Now faced with coronavirus pandemic the group demands that stakeholders and parties concerned help facilitate their work to ensure swift access to all affected population in the crisis-stricken regions.

To ensure the safety and wellbeing of their staff working in the affected regions, the INGOs requested that humanitarian staff and personnel must be protected in all circumstances, in accordance with international humanitarian laws.

This follows recent attacks on humanitarian aid groups by separatist fighters which prompted the United Nation’s Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon, Allegra Baiocchi to condemn the increased separatist attacks on humanitarian aid workers in the two English-speaking regions of the country and called on these non-State armed groups to rather protect the workers.

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