“I’d quit my job before going to work in a place like that.” That is how a primary school teacher responded when IPS asked him why he had not accepted a job in Cameroon’s Far North region.
Legislators in Cameroon have voted in a draft law proposing the death sentence for all those guilty of carrying out, abetting or sponsoring acts of terrorism. The draft law, which is now being examined by the Cameroon Senate, call for punishment acts of terrorism committed by citizens, either individually or in complicity, with death.
“You can’t measure the joy in my heart,” Marceline Duba, from Lagdo in Cameroon’s Far North Region, tells IPS as she holds her grandson in her arms.
Issah Mounde Nsangou combs his 6.5-hectare Kouoptomo coffee plantation in Cameroon’s West Region, pulling up unwanted weeds and clipping off parasitic plants. For the 50-year-old farmer, the health of his coffee plants are of prime importance.
Motari Hamissou used to get along well with his pupils at the government primary school in Sabga, an area in Bamenda, the capital of Cameroon’s North West Region.In the past, Hamissou also lived in peace with his neighbours. No one was bothered by his long, thick beard or the veil his wife, Aisha Hamissou, wore, or the religion they followed.
It is almost 6pm. A group of kids are plying their craft in a dusty, dirty courtyard in a poor neighbourhood in Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital. That craft is football. They kick the once-white-but-now-brown, aged football around. One child is barefoot, the other wears worn shoes and is dressed in the kit of the national team.
Senior defence officials say that Cameroon has been infiltrated by Nigeria’s Islamist extremist group Boko Haram and there are fears that this central African nation, known for its stability, is drifting into chaos.
“I can’t wait to return back home,” Celeste Edjangue, a refugee from the Central African Republic (CAR) now in Cameroon’s East Region, told IPS.
A project to reclaim agricultural land lost to eucalyptus plantations is bearing fruit in Cameroon.
Essomba Dominique, a Baka man from Mindourou in Cameroon’s East Region, sits dulled-eyed in front of his hut, known in the Baka language as the ‘mongoulou’.
Sabina Shey Nkabiy, a farmer in Cameroon's North West Region, moves around these days with a million-dollar smile on her face. The mother of six, who used to trek 10 kilometres a day to farm, now harvests food in her backyard.
“We couldn’t stand the violence anymore,” said 27-year-old Baba Hamadou shortly after alighting from a chartered flight at the Douala International Airport earlier this week.
Adamou Harouna’s herd of cattle grazes leisurely on lush green vegetation in Ndop, a small village in Cameroon’s North West Region.
Thomas Effiom, a 35-year old fisher in Jabane, a small locality in Cameroon’s Bakassi Peninsula, scoops off floodwaters from the muddy floor of his house. It is a ritual he performs each time the Atlantic Ocean overflows.
Approaching the Lake Chad basin from Gulfe, a small locality 45 kilometres from Cameroon’s Far North Regional capital Maroua, the atmosphere of despair is palpable: dusty air, fierce and unrelenting winds, wilting plants and sand dunes suggest that this once lush area is undergoing a terrible change.