Dakar, August 30, 2018 - The pan-African organisation Africans Rising issued a solemn appeal on Thursday, August 30, 2018, in Dakar, to all peace and justice loving Africans and citizens of the world, for concerted efforts to restore peace in Cameroon.
This call is also directed, to the African Union, African subregional organisations and all governments and civil society organisations to actively engage in the search for peace.
Since the end of 2016, this Central African nation is going through a major crisis which, in its English-speaking part, pits the army against insurgents who are demanding independence from the central government. The insurgents who are demanding independence chose Buea as the "capital" of the self- proclaimed the state of Ambazonia, which is not recognised by the international community.
From July 31 to August 2, 2018, an Africans Rising mission visited Buea, at 71 kilometers from Douala, to assess the situation and meet with women of the civil society engaged in various socio-economic development activities.
The visit showed that the civilian populations, and women in particular, are caught in the crossfire and are collateral victims of the conflict. They expressed their yearning for peace, even though they are struggling to make their voices heard. The Africans Rising delegation also found out that the conflict particularly affects women and children who are displaced in camps within their own country but are not provided with any external aid.
Most of these displaced people suffer from malnutrition and live in precarious conditions. On June 25, 2018, they were an estimated 160,000 people, according to the UN. Among these displaced persons are more than 50,000 pupils and students, now separated from their homes and unable to continue their education. Africans Rising is particularly concerned about these young people and their future.
"We can no longer allow this to happen, the future of these young people and children is at stake, but also that of the entire Cameroonian nation," said Coumba Toure, coordinator of Africans Rising.
"As Africans, it is our responsibility to act and find solutions on our own instead of expecting them from outside. We believe it is possible. The first and most urgent thing is to stop the abuses on both sides, as they threaten to drive the country into an open civil war," Toure added.
While in Buea, the Africans Rising delegation attended a "Women's Peace Summit" during which women from Cameroon pledged to raise public awareness inside and outside the country about the tragedies they are experiencing, in total silence.
"Beyond military operations, there is an ongoing human drama that particularly affects civilian populations, citizens in rural areas and all this is taking place in absolute silence. It is our duty to put an end to this hidden and nameless tragedy before it is too late," said Farida Nabourema, head of mobilization at Africans Rising.
"We call upon all Africans to use any leverage at their disposal to take concrete action and help our brothers and sisters in Cameroon to return to peace," added Ms. Nabourema.