from ROSY SADOU in Yaoundé, Cameroon
YAOUNDE, (CAJ News) – CLASHES between fishermen and livestock herders have displaced around 100 000 Cameroonians to Chad in recent months.
Women and children are the vast majority of the refugees fleeing the conflict that has raged on from August.
The United Nations Refugee Agency reports that 98 percent of people fleeing are women – including many pregnant – and minors.
Conflicts over resources pit the Mousgoum fishermen and Arab herders.
Médecins sans frontières (MSF of Doctors without Borders) is mobilising teams to provide care for the distressed Cameroonians in need around 20 informal sites in Chad.
“For a few weeks, we organised mobile clinics to provide basic healthcare to 11 000 refugees in Chad, before the situation calmed down,” said Jessie Gaffric, MSF head of mission in Chad.
However, the violence resumed suddenly and brutally, in early December in Kousseri, a Cameroonian town on the northeastern border with Chad’s capital, N’Djamena.
This was due to tensions over agricultural, pastoral and fisheries resources, which have not been resolved.
No less than 43 people were injured by knives, bullets or arrows.
Some 25 individuals had to be hospitalised in N’Djamena because of the lack of appropriate care in Kousseri.
Whole villages have been burnt to the ground.
This is the latest major deadly crisis afflicting Cameroon.
Since 2017, conflict between the government and separatists from the English-speaking minority, has killed over 4 000 people and displaced 765 000 of whom 60 000 are refugees in Nigeria.
The International Crisis Group provided the figures.
According to the UN, three of the Anglophone regions’ 4 million people are affected by the humanitarian crisis while about 800 000 children are out of school.
The Central African country also faces a Boko Haram insurgency from neighbouring Nigeria, to the northwest.
Rivals accuse incumbent, Paul Biya (88), Africa’s oldest head of state, in power since 1982, of rigging elections.
Presidential, National Assembly and local elections are due in August 2022.
– CAJ News