Ambazonia Crisis: Atanga Nji Says Over 60,000 IDPs receive government assistance
Cameroon’s Minister of Territorial Administration Paul Atanga Nji said Tuesday that the government has assisted more than 60,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the two troubled English-speaking regions of Northwest and Southwest.
“As of today, there are 60,345 Cameroonians who have already received humanitarian assistance in the two regions. There are also 1,200 families that have returned home,” Nji told reporters in the capital city of Yaounde while meeting with seven other ministers to assess the humanitarian situation in the restive regions.
He stressed that other humanitarian organizations wishing to assist the IDPs must obtain permission from the government.
“On no account can you go to the field and start doing your activities without the formal approval of the government because if things are not properly organized there is the risk of having assistance falling into the hands of the terrorists,” Nji said.
He said, rehabilitation centers have already been set up to accommodate armed separatists who will drop their weapons.
“When you lay down your weapons, you will be taken to the centers, where you are provided health, psychological and training facilities,” Nji said.
Armed separatists have been clashing with government forces in the two English-speaking regions since November 2017. Separatists want to secede from Francophone-majority Cameroon and create a new nation called “Ambazonia”.
The United Nations estimates that over 430,000 people have been displaced internally by the conflict.
During his end-of-year speech to the nation, Cameroon President Paul Biya said he was ready to continue dialogue with “people of goodwill” in the troubled regions but warned that armed separatists unwilling to drop their arms will be “neutralized”.