N Melo
by N Melo
June 3, 2022 0

Bali Nyonga road blockade: BIR at the heart of a serious accusation

For several years, the English-speaking area of Cameroon has been in the grip of a merciless war between separatist factions and Yaoundé loyalist forces embodied by the BIR. The civilian population is the biggest loser in this war. Not only are they paying a heavy price in terms of human lives but also in their daily lives. For the past few days, the people of Bamumbuh, a neighborhood in Bali Nyonga, have not been letting up.

The inhabitants of Bamumbuh, a neighborhood in Bali Nyonga, in the Northwest region, have accused government forces of blocking the main road leading to their area. The road has been blocked for a full week (last Thursday), it is learned.

“As the only road linking this quarter, the residents cannot access the market or their farm produce. No one can try to open because they said that if we do, no one will live to witness what we have done,” a road user told the Cameroon News

Anglophone crisis breaks a huge record

This is a sad record, but first, let’s put it in context. The so-called Anglophone conflict or crisis has been brewing for decades, with Cameroon’s Anglophones complaining of being marginalized and alienated from decision-making by the predominantly French-speaking administration in Yaoundé. Approximately 20% of Cameroon’s population is Anglophone. Since October 2017, Cameroon has been in the midst of a deadly conflict that pits the military against separatist forces in the two English-speaking regions of the Northwest and Southwest. Its origins date back to the colonization of the country by the French and British governments.

A Norwegian NGO’s assessment of the global security situation puts the NOSO crisis on the podium of the world’s most neglected crises. The assessment is based on the lack of attention paid to the crisis, as well as to the crisis in the Far North. The Norwegian non-governmental organization, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has published a list of the ten most neglected internal crises in the world. The crises operating in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which comes first, then Burkina Faso, then Cameroon, then South Sudan, Chad, Mali, Sudan, Nigeria, Burundi and Ethiopia.

This ranking for the year 2021 draws its foundation according to its initiators of the absence or scarcity of policies and public actions to manage these conflicts “it reflects the chronic failure of policymakers, donors and media to address the conflicts and human suffering on this continent,” lamented the secretary general of the NGO, Jan Egeland, in a statement.

The report said that 2021 saw three distinct crises persist in Cameroon. In the two English-speaking regions, the report said, growing insecurity and abuses against civilians have forced people to flee in search of safety.” Attacks on teachers, schools and health facilities continued, leaving 700,000 children unable to attend school. In the Far North region, violence and attacks have significantly hampered humanitarian efforts and access to those in need.”

According to the Journal du Cameroun, in the eastern region of the country, there has been an increase in the number of refugees from the Central African Republic, which has put additional pressure on local host communities, the report states.

For the past four years, Cameroon has ranked third on this list due to a consistent lack of political commitment and international attention.

Most international media rarely cover countries in conflict beyond reporting on new outbreaks of violence or disease, and in many African countries, the lack of press freedom makes the situation worse. Then there is donor fatigue and the fact that many African countries are considered of limited geopolitical interest.

The low level of funding limits the ability of humanitarian organizations to both provide adequate humanitarian assistance and to do effective advocacy and communication work for these crises, creating a vicious cycle.

The situation in 2022 shows few signs of abating for the Cameroonian people, as violence and insecurity persist. The detention of aid workers has led some organizations to suspend their programs, leaving even more people out of reach of aid.

N Melo
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