Global outrage over Cameroon refugee camp attack

Nguetchewe in Cameroon. Photo by BBC

from ROSY SADOU in Yaoundé, Cameroon
YAOUNDE, (CAJ News) THE global humanitarian community has condemned the killing of at least 18 people by an armed group during an attack at a makeshift refugee camp in northern Cameroon.

Boko Haram, the Islamist group from neighbouring Nigeria, is thought to be behind the attack that occurred at the beginning of this week near the village of Nguetchewe in Cameroon’s Far North region.

Eleven other people were injured in the incident when assailants threw an explosive device, thought to be a grenade, into the makeshift camp while people were sleeping.

Some 1 500 people, including terrified residents of the hosting village, have fled to nearby towns.

Babar Baloch, the spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), denounced the attack.

He said the organisation had deployed an emergency mission to assess the situation and evaluate the protection and health needs of those affected.

“UNHCR calls on all actors to respect the civilian and humanitarian character of internally-displaced people’s camps, and to respond promptly to the urgent needs of people who have fled violence and suffered multiple displacements,” Baloch said.

Against the background of growing insecurity, UNHCR anticipates enhanced community protection, shelter, water and sanitation will be needed as the country responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The attack follows a significant rise in violent incidents in Cameroon since July.

The Far North region, located between Nigeria’s Borno and Adamawa states and Lake Chad, currently hosts over 115 000 Nigerian refugees.

Cameroon has recorded 87 Boko Haram attacks on its northern border with Nigeria since January.

Violent attacks have killed 30 000 people and displaced more than 3 million in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, condemned the attacks.

“Those responsible for these atrocities must be held accountable,” he said.

– CAJ News

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