“You can’t sleep,” says bishop Andrew Nkea, of the Mamfe diocese in south-west Cameroon. “Even with all the stamina I have from my faith, I couldn’t sleep when I went to Kembong and saw the houses that had been burned down … I saw a corpse which had been lying there for four, five days, and dogs were tearing it apart.”
A deadly conflict in Cameroon sparked by increasing tensions between English and French-speaking populations has driven tens of thousands from their homes. At least 160,000 people are displaced inside Cameroon, and more than 21,000 have fled to Nigeria to escape what has been described by bishops as “blind, inhuman, monstrous violence”. Most have settled in Cross River State.
Some people are staying with family in Nigeria, but most are sleeping rough in abandoned buildings, or out in the open. What began as a request for English to be used in the courtrooms and public schools of the country’s two anglophone regions has escalated into this crisis.If the situation is not defused through dialogue, the entire country could be destabilised before October’s elections, according to the International Crisis Group.A number of anglophone activists are calling for secession and the creation of a new country, which they want to call Ambazonia.
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