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Killing In Manyu Swells Humanitarian Crisis In Refugee Camps 

By Jonathan Ngala

The fighting in Manyu Division between Cameroon Government security/defence forces and youths and men who claim to defend their land, has led to many civilian casualties.

The killing by government troops, which started since the street demonstrations of September 22 and October 1, 2017, has led to up to 20,000 people, including women and children, fleeing across to neighbouring Nigeria and resulting in a serious refugee and humanitarian crises. Also, due to the reckless crackdown on the population with people running helter-skelter – some, while they were at the market or on their farms – many families cannot account for their loved ones who might have been killed or are missing.

Meantime, there are acute problems of food, water, health and clothing on the refugee camps. People are dying in dozens everyday due to hunger, thirst, sickness and uncomfortable temperatures.
“The situation is very serious. We saw people very sick. People are dying daily,” said a humanitarian volunteer who visited the refugee camps.

“We cannot understand why President Biya would let his people suffer like this. He has apparently given a deaf ear to advice from the international community to engage dialogue and end the crisis. We don’t know what he is up to,” observed a native of Manyu who refused to be named.

Meantime, a warrant of arrest issued a few weeks ago against leaders of the Southern Cameroon National Council, SCNC, and the Federal Republic of Ambazonia in the Diaspora, plus the recent arrest of the separatist leaders in Nigeria, has added to the confusion and desultory. Even people who came home for the end-of-year feast or for the funeral ceremonies of their loved ones who were shot dead by the forces have been scared away.

Cameroonians who live abroad, such as students and permanent residents, are treated with suspicions by the security forces when they visit Cameroon; they are not allowed to communicate with people on the streets, or even stand in a crowd and ask questions or express their mind. Otherwise, it will result to assault or arbitrary arrest and jail without judgement.

Recently, a student from USA, Chi Alison Bih, who was wailing at funeral of her uncle, Simon Agbortakoh, who was shot dead by the security forces, was accused of asking the youths to stand up and revenge all those who have been killed by the troops. She is also quoted to have bemoaned the rape and robbery by the military in Manyu Division.

Reports say the uncle was one of those who were shot in the confrontation of Monday, December 11, 2017, between Cameroun military forces and a group of youths that led to more than 50 dead and over a 100 wounded.

Youths Swear To Continue Struggle
Meanwhile, the youths who have been scared into the jungles of the Northwest and Southwest Regions have sworn to fight until their land is liberated.
In Fontem, Bechati, Wabane in Lebialem, suspect Ambazonia or opposition party militants who have escaped have refused to return, in spite of appeals from elite and the local administration. The say their comrades who have dared to return have been arrested, some with their entire families, citing the case of a traditional ruler, Chief Keju Nkemtaji III, as example. Same story goes for Munyenge, Ekata in Muyuka Subdivision where those who returned from the bushes were arrested by troops, brutalised and bundled into trucks, together with their families, and ferried into detention in Buea.
Many people have been killed at different times in Didi, Eyumujock and other villages in Manyu. In the meantime, gendarmerie brigades and posts have been attacked separately Manyu, Meme and Ndian, leaving between 15 and 20 of Government forces dead.

Crackdown Cracks Families
Since 2016, when the Anglophone Crisis exploded, the crackdown by Government on the Anglophones or Ambazonia militants has left hundreds of people killed or maimed and thousands of families dispersed to unknown places.

People continue fleeing from their home stead in the Southwest and Northwest Regions, when the troops descend on the population. Children and women are the worst casualties. Some children simply run away alongside people they found themselves with and do not know the whereabouts of their parents; parents who found themselves in same situation do not know the whereabouts of their children. Some pregnant women have been compelled to deliver in the course of the journey or on the refugee camps in Nigeria.
In several cases, families alone have lost three to four children. In other many cases, the man does not know the whereabouts of the wife, or the woman the whereabouts of the husband.

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