The coronavirus pandemic has come to add salt to injury to residents of the Anglophone regions of Cameroon who had already been coping with a three year long war.
Following the outbreak of the pandemic and its rapid spread, some separatist groups have heeded the UN’s call, holding off fighting for the virus to be tackled.
The decline in the number of clashes and insecurity some residents say, does not mean things are better yet.
Daisy, a student of the University of Buea, says she is more scared now than before.
Sometimes she says “the amba boys exercised pity on us. We did not get to meet them everywhere too unlike how you can contract the coronavirus.”
With regards to allegations of torture by security forces, she says it was still better than now.
“With COVID-19, no matter how cautious you are, you can still contract it. There are specific places where you would meet amba boys or soldiers but with the coronavirus, they say it can be anywhere” she adds.
In addition to measures put in place by PM Dion Ngute to curb the spread of the virus, South West region’s governor, Bernard Okalia Bilai recently prohibited the consumption of food and drinks at sale points.
This Dieudonne, another University of Buea student says, makes him more scared. “With the Anglophone Crisis, we knew either side could have you picked up or tortured if you failed to obey them but with the virus it is way harder” he notes.
Despite limiting movement as much as possible over the past days, Dieudonne says “anyone can give it to me. It can be a neighbor or one of my roommates. I’ve never been as worried.”
Asked about the fewer gunshots being heard, he says “gunshots were scary but we could seek safety when we heard them. With coronavirus added to the crisis, only God can save us now bro.”
To prevent more lives from being lost to the pandemic, many say more action has to be taken to contain the spread of the virus including the closure of markets.
According to the ministry of health, Cameroon currently has over 500 persons tested positive of COVID-19.
Image: Cameroon Tribune