Cameroon: More and more kidnappings in connection with the civil war
Football team abducted – Conflict parties must commit to protecting the civilian population
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) is very concerned about the increased kidnappings in the conflict over the Anglophone regions of Cameroon. Last Wednesday, a 15-member university football team from Buea was abducted. It was the fourth politically motivated abduction in the Anglophone regions within two days. The human rights organization demands the conflicting parties to commit to protecting the civilian population, emphasizing that hostage-taking and other attacks on civilians must be stopped.
"Increasing violence against students, politicians, and travelers is fueling fear and terror among the civilian population of the disputed regions. The civilians are paying a heavy price for the inaction of the government, which rejects any dialogue. It is necessary to try and find a political solution to the crisis," stated Ulrich Delius, the STP's director, in Göttingen on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Ndombe Bosso, coach of the local football team Yong Sport, was kidnapped in the city of Bamenda. He was released on the evening of the same day. On Wednesday, Emmanuel Ngafeson Banta former Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice was abducted from his home near Bamenda. He too was released later on, unharmed. Also on Wednesday, a coach with 80 passengers was stopped between Buea and Kumba in the southwest of the country, and held for seven hours. Again, the kidnappers are suspected of political motives. Many streets in the civil war zones are no longer safe, and there are many cases of hostage-taking and extortion of ransom. Apparently, the attackers are trying to show that the security forces are unable to protect the civilian population.
Around 460,000 people are currently on the run from the violence in the Anglophone regions in the northwest and southwest of the country. About 437,000 of them have found protection in the Francophone areas, while tens of thousands have taken refuge in neighboring Nigeria. Armed movements in the Anglophone regions have been fighting for an independent English-speaking state since November 2016.
Despite numerous appeals from within the country and from abroad, Cameroon's President Paul Biya is not willing to try and solve the crisis by entering a credible political dialogue with those seeking independence.
Headerbild: Charlotte Connelly via Flickr