Doctors Without Borders Forced to Withdraw from Cameroon’s Crisis-Attacking Northwest


Atiku Bakari, 12 years old, lives The puzzled northwestern region of CameroonWent to pick up fateful firewood on July 16 when he turned to a rare “toy” grenade.

When Atiku innocently grabbed a deadly object and began throwing it, it exploded, crushing his right hand, hitting his chest, and injuring his stomach and legs. My brother, Arille Bakari, was also seriously injured in his legs, stomach and hands.

Upon getting the information, his mother, Zenab Bakari, 33, fainted on the ground. Neighbors hurriedly sent their two children to a hospital in the Hundon district. There, Atiku’s right hand was immediately cut off. The two victims were then referred to the larger medical facility, Mubingo Baptist Hospital.

“After spending two weeks in the hospital, Aliyu’s bill reached FCFA 87,200. [US $156.43]I couldn’t afford to pay. A Catholic priest helped me pay for it, “Zenab, the mother of two children, told the Epoch Times in Cameroonian Pidgin English over the phone.

“We were discharged, but stayed in the hospital because we don’t have FCFA 400,000. [US $717.58] I need a hospital invoice.I still have to pay 52,300 [USD $93.82] At the district hospital. If Doctors Without Borders was still active here, all these costs would not have been incurred. They would have helped me treat my children for free, “a struggling mother selling grilled fish told The Epoch Times.

It is an international humanitarian medical non-governmental organizationDoctors Without Borders(MSF) — After an eight-month ceasefire by Cameroonian authorities, it was decided to withdraw the team from the northwestern region of Cameroon on August 3. English-speaking separatist rebels in the region.. Emergency humanitarian NGOs have been accused of colluding with local armed groups.


“There is a mixture of formal accusations of a predominantly administrative nature and a series of very nasty informal accusations and allegations prevailing primarily in the Cameroonian government’s professional media,” said MSF’s Northwest Program Coordinator. Laura Martinelli, who served, said. Before the outage, West Cameroon told The Epoch Times by email.

“These informal claims range from actively supporting armed groups to transporting weapons, etc. Doctors Without Borders allegedly supported separatist fighters in the northwest. I have consistently and categorically rejected allegations. “

To justify the withdrawal, MSF’s Central African Operations Coordinator, Emmanuel Lampaert, said, “We can no longer stay in areas where we are not allowed to provide care to the people here.” rice field.

“This outage will significantly reduce access to medical services in areas where the community is severely affected by armed violence,” he said.

Doctors Without Borders is currently out of service in the northwestern region of Cameroon, but continues to operate in the southwestern region of its conflicting sisters.

The governor of the northwestern region of Cameroon, who contacted by phone and suspended the medical charity Adolf Lele Raflik, refused to comment on the Epoch Times regarding December 2020. Stop command..

Since 2018, Doctors Without Borders has worked with numerous medical facilities in the crisis-stricken Regions of Cameroon to provide free medical care to children and pregnant women to address trauma victims.


For nearly 5 years Conflict in two English-speaking northwestern and southwestern regions of Cameroon, Derived from the country’s colonial past.

Cameroon Germany first colonized After (1884-1916) Divided into France and England.. French Cameroon gained independence in 1960, and a year later, after voting, English-speaking Cameroonians joined through the Commonwealth. Referendum organized by the United Nations..French speaking section Consists of about 80 percent The English-speaking section, on the other hand, occupies about 20 percent in terms of both territory and population.

NS 1972 controversial referendum Abolished the federal structure of the country.

“NS Federal structure Dr. Emile Sunjo, Senior Lecturer of International Relations and Conflict Resolution at the University of Buea in Cameroon, is the Epoch Times of the textbook.

These claims were either ignored or brutally crushed in the decades that followed, Sunjo said.

Tensions between Francophone-led government and English-speaking separatist movement Reached a new pitch in 2016After the government forced French-speaking teachers and lawyers into English-speaking schools and courts.

“The protests faced disproportionate use of force by government security forces and the arrest and detention of leaders. The incident then went out of control, separatist movements emerged, and the independence of the English-speaking Cameroon. “I asked for it,” Sunjo told The Epoch Times.

“The war is gone More than 4,000 people diedHundreds of thousands are internally displaced and about 50,000 are neighboring Nigerian refugees.Hundreds of thousands of children Shoe was robbedl And the local economy is in free fall due to the war. “

Healthcare dysfunction

Many health care services Made dysfunctional In the northwestern and southwestern regions of the crisis, victims of the crisis rely primarily on medical care from NGOs such as Doctors Without Borders.

2020, medical charity Treated 180 survivors of sexual violenceIn the northwestern region of Cameroon alone, provided 1,725 ​​mental health consultations, performed 3,272 surgeries and ambulance transport of 4,407 patients. It was before the suspension of activities in the area in December 2020.

“People are paying a very high price for this situation,” Lampaert said.

“Since 2018, we have witnessed numerous attacks and threats on medical facilities, and MSF has been forced to withdraw from the team, but all parties to the crisis. To respect health care providers. “

Martinelli describes the situation in northwestern Cameroon before the team stopped as “disastrous.”

“Excessive violence occurred on a regular basis, and medical access, including ambulance services, was well below the level to meet the basic and life-saving needs of the community living in the area,” she said. Told the Epoch Times.

In Cameroon’s English-speaking world, village raids, kidnappings, torture, property destruction, and extrajudicial killings have become new norms, she added.

In the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon, the battle between the Cameroon Army and the Separatist Army continues unabated. On Sunday, August 23, a gunman fired at a church in northwestern Cameroon, killing a woman and fatally injuring her minister. Both the Cameroon Army and the armed groups are exchanging accusations with each other.

Xenab trembles as he talks about how the kids were shot on the way from the market.

“There are days everywhere we can’t escape because of gunshots,” she says.

“During shooting, we are forced to sleep on the floor for fear of receiving stray bullets. The next day, cartridges are everywhere. We live in fear, but of choice There is no room. We leave our lives to God. “

She also remembers seeing “many people die from stray bullets in the area” after indiscriminate shootings between the military and separatist fighters.

Xenab may think he was lucky to lose his children in a grenade explosion, but the trauma remains.

“I’m traumatized and need help,” she told The Epoch Times.

“It’s hard to find food to eat.”

In 2020, the socio-political conflict in Cameroon was listed as one of the most neglected in the world.

“Our ambulance was fired and stolen, local health workers faced sexual assault and murder, and armed men were in medical facilities,” said Zakaria Muwati, emergency coordinator of a medical charity in southwestern Cameroon. After firing, his colleague faced a threat of murder. “Epoch Times on mail.

today, Conflict in English-speaking Cameroon is at a standstillSeparatists refused to discuss the form of the state, hoping for a military victory; Demanding unrecognized Ambassonia independence..

“The main reason the conflict has lasted so long is that it seems that both sides do not want to agree on the basis of negotiations or mediation,” said Sunjo.

“Because of the deep distrust, violence seems to be the best option for both sides. Importantly, both factions appear to be fragmented and some want hardliners and negotiated reconciliation. Unfortunately, hardliners seem to have uppers on both sides, “he said. “Both parties must first settle within their ranks before engaging in potentially fruitful negotiations or mediation.”

To get out of conflict, Sunjo claims the interests of the suffering masses, who “must be put first” by both parties, “not the current muscle show.

Narova Aqua

Nalova Akua is a multimedia freelance journalist in Cameroon.