By Boris Esono Nwenfor (Cameroon)
The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guteress has reiterated the UN’s position to mediate in the ongoing Anglophone crisis. Mr. Guteress met Cameroon’s Prime Minister Chief Dr. Dion Ngute on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The main focus of the AU Summit was centered on refugee and IDPs which is growing in Africa.
At the end of the discussion, Dion Ngute disclosed to the press that Antonio Guterres was interested in the conflicts in the sub region and especially the situation in Cameroon. The Prime Minister also confirmed that the situation in the North West and South West Regions was also of interest to the UN Scribe. Without giving further details, Dion Ngute said everything they discussed would be carefully transmitted to the Head of State, Paul Biya who was absent at the Summit.
The UN SG Antonio Guterres confirmed to reporters that the substance of his discussion with Dion Ngute was about the many political conflicts in Cameroon like in the North (the Boko Haram insurgencies) and the Anglophone Regions (separatist forces fighting for secession), which are already causing a humanitarian crisis. He argued that only a peaceful solution to this can reduce the number of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and solve the growing humanitarian question.
According to the UN Scribe, political conflicts are the root causes of the refugee and IDP crisis and these situations cannot be well addressed without solving Africa’s many political problems.
The UN has been pressurizing the Government of Cameroon to open dialogue with separatist fighters as a way of solving the Anglophone question which has produced hundreds of thousands of refugees and IDPs. According to the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Cameroon Ms. Allegra Baiocchi, “Cameroon today can no longer be a forgotten crisis; it needs to be high on the agenda and there is a drastic increase in humanitarian need across the country”. Humanitarian needs are likely to increase in the coming years as underfunding means we cannot do all we can to make a difference in the life of most vulnerable people across Cameroon”.
In December 2018, the United Kingdom, America and Sweden in a Security Council presentation all called for immediate intervention in the Anglophone Conflict.
Insecurity and violence in these regions have uprooted 437,000 people from their homes and forced over 32,000 to seek refuge in neighboring Nigeria. Four million people are affected by the conflict in Cameroon’s West, says the UN. Meantime, due to the deteriorating situation in Northeast Nigeria, more than 10,000 new refugees arrived in Cameroon in 2018 bringing the number of Nigerian refugees to 100,000.