Cameroon

Cameroon: North-West and South-West Crisis Situation Report No. 6 - As of 30 April 2019

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This report is produced by OCHA Cameroon in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It was issued on May 16. It covers 1-30 April 2019. The May report will be issued in early June.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Insecurity has forced more than 440,000 people to flee their homes.

• More than 380,000 people need shelter, and some 418,000 people NFI assistance.

• Continuation of the conflict brings with it not only shelter needs and loss of livelihoods, but also cuts people off from key support services such as healthcare and clean water.

• More than 8,000 people were reached with WASH activities in the NW and SW regions.

• Burning of houses continues causing further displacement.

• Protection monitoring in the Northwest and Southwest Regions revealed that over 946 persons were victims of serious human rights violations.

• Around 2,900 children were provided with PSS services during the reporting period.

• Essential healthcare was provided to more than 3,600 persons in the NW and SW regions

• There is a high risk of a rapid increase in new HIV infections due to the ARV supply disruption

4M affected people

1.3M People in need

820K targeted for assistance

530K internally displaced

376K People in need in host communities

330K Other people in need

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Humanitarian

There are now at least 444,000 people displaced within the two regions and significant displaced populations in the cities of Yaounde and Douala and in West and Littoral regions. Furthermore, in Nigeria there are over 35,800 refugees with populations engaged in pendular cross-border movements as they endeavor to address their security and basic material needs. The absence of political process offers little hope in the short-term perspective and high levels of insecurity persist with many communities without any social support structures other than local clerics.

The conflict and the predatory behaviors of armed actors are the key factors driving the crisis. Human rights violations continue to be committed by parties to the conflict with worrying trends in terms of brutality. Civilians continue to be at risk as they are both directly targeted or victims of crossfire. Children are profoundly affected by the conflict as they are killed, maimed and abducted by warring parties.

Despite some softening of rhetoric on education, the school system remains a key area of contention and many children are now entering their third year out of school. There are indications of recruitment by armed groups, taking advantage of the absence of this key structural support to the lives of children.

There are indications that sexual violence is underreported, affecting both adults and children with a disproportionate impact on women and girls. Health coverage also remains a key challenge as damaged and destroyed structures constrain the capacity of the few health professionals that that remained with populations in greatest need.

These issues drive the displacement which brings with it not only shelter needs and loss of livelihoods, but also cuts people off from key support services such as healthcare and clean water. Medical professionals are some of the most missed as they leave rural and communities, flee to cities in the two regions, and beyond into neighboring regions leaving healthcare structures unstaffed, looted and even burnt.

Security

Abductions continued to present threat to the civilian population. On 2 April, armed group elements abducted the head coach of a PWD Bamenda football team (NW), releasing him a number of hours later. On 13 April, armed group elements from Lebialem reportedly kidnapped six children in Fongo-Tongo (West region), conditioning their release with a 10-million CFA ransom. – On 19 April, armed groups kidnapped and detained two national staff from a local NGO for 3 days in Buea (SW). On the night between 20 and 21 April, gunmen abducted the brother of the chairman of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) party in Bafut (NW). On 27 April, armed groups kidnapped the Chairman of the SDF on his way to Kumbo for the burial of one of his party members. They released him hours later after questioning.

Houses and grain stores were burned Meluf, Fuh, Orti, Mbipgo, Luh (all NW) and Ikata (SW). In the NW region, populations store maize and other food crops in traditional barns that also serve as house ceilings. Burning houses therefore entails destruction of food stocks. A statement released by the Catholic Church's National Episcopal Conference's Justice and Peace Commission on Easter Sunday reveals that more than 750 houses and structures have been burned in Kumbo (NW) since the end of 2016.

Political

The political situation remained tense. While efforts continued behind the scene to enable coalescence around modalities that might lead to resolution, no agreed initiative that might lead to overall resolution became apparent during the reporting period.

The defense team of the opposition leader Julius Sisikou Ayuk Tabe et al boycotted court sessions on 8 and 29 April citing procedural reasons. Ghost towns were also declared on these days marking a continuation of previous practice. The culture of ‘lockdowns’ persisted as armed groups contested the marking of significant days by the authorities. Of note was the promulgation by elements on the ground whereas previously members of the diaspora had led these calls. The Black Tar council (a coalition of armed groups that operate in Meme and Fako – SW) declared a 10-days lockdown from 4 to 13 April to protest the holding of the Limbe Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) which took place from 4 to 13 April. The lockdown was partly effective in several localities of Fako division, including Buea. NSAGs movements in the diaspora were not unanimous on the lockdown as some rejected it, some wanted it shorter and others endorsed it. Reacting to the lockdown declaration, the Mayor of Buea sealed several shops before opening them after.

By ending April, armed groups called for two other lockdowns throughout the two regions. The first which effectively took place from 29 to 1 May aimed at preventing Labour day celebration and the second to take place from 19 to 20 May aims at preventing the National day celebration in the two regions.

On 3 April, Cameroon’s Senate adopted seven bills among which three focused on decentralization. On April 11 the Commission for Bilingualism and Multiculturalism organized reflections on the concept of living together and on 19 were visited by the UN Deputy Director of Political Affairs and the Consolidation of Peace who offered support to peace-positive initiatives. The DDR programme reported a number of entrants into the centre in Bamenda in the NW.

A conference was held in Berlin for opposition aligned members of the diaspora which offered indications of more positive messaging on key areas of humanitarian concern.

There was international pressure on parties to the conflict and corresponding press coverage as high-level engagements took place. The Swiss government offered its services to the Government of Cameroon to help seek resolutions. The US government representation expressed concerns about the Anglophone crisis and it was considered by the UK Parliament and a research briefing was produced on April 17. On 18 April, the EU parliament issued a resolution on Cameroon. The resolution expressed concern over human rights violations by security forces and Armed groups in Cameroon; called on the government, the AU and the Economic Community of Central African States to take steps to ensure dialogue in the NWSW crisis, in the absence of which the UNSC should discuss the matter; and called on the government to ensure a genuine political democracy. In reaction, the both the Senate of Cameroon and the Minister of Communications issued press statements objecting to elements of the EU resolution, saying that demands of lawyers and teachers were addressed and declaring its availability to host a delegation of European MPs and that issues should be addressed internally.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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