Some villages in the restive anglophone regions of Cameroon are experiencing the largest mass displacement of people in a war as civilians flee fighting and oppression, a witness tells Gina Informs.
In a village in the SW Region of Cameroon Ekona, at least 150 people have been forced to leave their homes because the town is militarized, and the military cannot make out between an Ambazonia fighter and a civilian.
“It all began on October 1st at about 2pm,” a witness who does not want to be identified said. Houses were burnt down by the military, after they saw ‘ambazonia’ flag raised. They got into Ekona looking for the Ambazonian boys, who had already escaped after raising the flag.
Houses were burnt down, and villagers fled for their lives into the bushes.
Many are sleeping in the bushes now, without adequate shelter or water to cope with an unbearable temperature. No deaths were recorded on October 1, but there was heavy shooting, and witnesses cannot tell if it was the military or the separatist fighters.
“Life in Ekona has not been as before,” an inhabitant who has fled to Douala and is trying to get to Douala tells Gina Informs. “There has been occasions of gunshots in which many have lost their lives, the civilians are the majority dead, so pple have left ekona just the few of us who remained behind because we had no where to go to. I succeded to leave Ekona but my mother is still in the Bush with others.
Businesses and churches have been shut down, my friend was shot in the kitchen while cooking, all these made pple to look for a safer place; the bush. others who could leave the village succeded. Life has bot been the same in our village.
The fight for independence
The Red Dragons, Tigers and Ambazonia Defence Forces (ADF) – are just some of the armed groups which have sprung up to fight for independence in the restive English-speaking parts of Cameroon.
The militias, formed in the past 12 months, have made many small towns and villages in the two main Anglophone regions, the North-West and South-West, “ungovernable”, something unimaginable just a few years ago.
The militias began to emerge in 2017 after a security force crackdown on mass protests, led by lawyers in wigs and teachers in suits, over the government’s alleged failure to give enough recognition to the English legal and education systems in the North-West and South-West.
Today, just one day before vote day, some of these areas are no go zones. Political analysts say no longer call it a crisis but a war.