By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The UK government says it is deeply concerned with the ongoing violence in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon as violence continues unabated. The close to five years crisis has led to thousands of persons displaced to neighbouring Nigeria as refugees or in other safe heavens in the country, while others have been killed, maimed or kidnapped for ransom.
In a letter by James Duddridge, MP and Minister for Africa, responding to correspondence from Rt Hon Ed Davey (MP, House of Commons), He said the crisis has continued to have a tragic impact on civilians.
“I will like to assure you that the UK government continues to call for inclusive dialogue that addresses the root causes of the crisis. We have shared our experience of conflict resolution and we call on all parties to remain engaged in Swiss-led efforts to facilitate talks,” the MP said in a statement.
“Reports of human rights violations and abuses by security forces and armed separatists are disturbing. As the UK’s International Ambassador for Human Rights set out at the UN Human Rights Council on February 28, 2021, the violence must end and urgent, impartial investigations must hold the perpetrators to account…”
He went on to add that: “In September 2020, I announced 4.5 million pounds of additional funding for Cameroon, to bring the total for 2020 to 13.5 million pounds. This has provided tens of thousands of vulnerable people with food packs, sanitation provisions and medical supplies, as well as training for health workers. “As part of my visit, I travelled to South West Region and met international project partners delivering this vital aid, who described to me the challenges of providing humanitarian support. The UK continues to press the importance of unimpeded humanitarian access.”
Like the UK government, the UN Secretary-General, USA, have all been calling for a meaningful solution to the ongoing crisis. Cameroonians, however, want these countries and international bodies to not simply talk more but their actions should show that they want the crisis to come to an end.
In August 2017, Crisis Group sounded an alarm about the risk of an insurrection in Cameroon’s Anglophone Regions unless genuine dialogue, complete with strong measures to defuse tensions, was initiated. Sadly, that was not the case and the violence escalated to where we are now today
The violence has led both security forces and separatist fighters to be killed. The ordinary citizen has not been left out, facing the wrath of both the security forces and the separatist fighters. They have been accused of supporting one faction with the end not good for them. The UN reports that tens of thousands of civilians have died from the crisis, while hundreds have equally been displaced.