It was on the 29th of August 2018, that Civil Society Organisations led by women from the South West and North West Regions of Cameroon came together at Bongo Square in Buea to wail and lament for peace to return to these part of Cameroon that has been experiencing war.
In November 2016, lawyers and teachers of the 2 English speaking regions went on strike because they felt marginalized and their identity stolen from them and replaced with the French supremacy in both sectors. The strike action was under looked at by the government and many Cameroonians. Violence came in and things escalated to the war that has been going on for 2 years now.
Children have been killed, shot at by the state armed group and the Non-State Armed group. The state armed group has done more shooting and killings. Our schools have been shut down for 2 years now. Our houses, villages, properties have been burnt and the only safe space left are the bushes. Our daughters have been raped and forced into prostitution as a means of survival.
Life in the bushes is a nightmare. Women give birth to babies unattended to. Snakes, scorpions and other dangerous insects stink people to death. They fall sick and without medical attention, they die. Women use the moss plants, leaves, rags to protect themselves during menstruation. Working in these bushes during this war is one huge challenge as I cry my eyes out each time I return from there. No proper toilets, no clean water, no proper waste management, no beds etc.
Women and other Cameroonians took to social media to cry foul. Meetings upon meetings were called to draw government's attention to what was going on but nothing was done to calm down the situation. Children who saw their parents, siblings shot at and murdered decided to join the Non-State Armed group and are bent to fight till their own deaths. Some have even said they are no longer Cameroonians and they shall fight to have their country ( the 2 English speaking regions), Ambazonian.
The number of people who want to divide from the republic of Cameroon keeps rising and they all want Ambazonia. They call their fighting group, Amba boys. The sad thing is bad boys have decided to create another group, it is neither the state nor Amba boys and they go around to extort money from people. If you don't have money, you are kidnapped and killed.
The pain and atrocities were huge. CSOs led by women from the South West and North West Regions decided to create a task force known as SNWOT, to cause both parties to stop the violence and resort to peace. SNWOT want peace to return to Cameroon and a meaningful dialogue to end the war to take place.
On the 29th of August, the 1st Lamentation took place in the South West Region and that of Bamenda in the North West Region is coming up soon and we shall continue with this Lamentation until both parties listen and stop the atrocities going on in these regions.