Four years into the Anglophone crisis that has escalated into an armed conflict, Cameroon’s Territorial Administration Minister Atanga Nji Paul has said humanitarian groups are aiding Ambazonian fighters.
Minister Atanga Nji was talking in Yaounde today where on behalf of President Paul Biya he dispatched a 100 truck load of aid for Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs to the crisis plagued regions.
The trucks comprised of bedding equipment, sanitary pads and foodstuff.
Making an assessment of the past two years, the minister said “some ill-intentioned political actors and Nongovernmental Organisations” have been providing false information on the crisis.
“According to these plotters, there are approximately 600,000 internally displaced persons in the North West and South West Regions,” he said. “Cameroon to date,” however, he went on, “has only 152,000 internally displaced persons in the North-West and South-West Regions, and approximately six (6) to nine (9) thousand internally displaced persons in the other Regions: West, Littoral, Centre Adamawa and to a lesser extent other parts of the country”.
Another false information being spread, Minister Atanga Nji said, has to do with the amount needed in assistance for IDPs, a figure Government evaluated at 12.5 billion FCFA for two (02) years.
“Some of our humanitarian partners said that we needed 36 billion FCFA to deal with IDPs in the North West and South West Regions, which is three (03) times more expensive than the estimates made by the government,” Atanga Nji told reporters.
He said another action taken by government is the creation of Humanitarian Action Coordination Centers in the North West and South West Regions. This, he explained, has not stopped UN agencies ( WFP, OCHA, UNHCR) and others from wanting to work independently, a situation that has caused a lack of transparency.
“In the South West Region, our defense and security forces stopped an ambulance from a humanitarian agency that was supposed to be transporting the injured. In this ambulance, there were certainly three wounded but who in reality were dangerous terrorists actively sought by the defense and security forces. Even more seriously, there were three Kalashnikovs and two boxes of ammunition in this ambulance,” Minister Atanga Nji said, noting that “an ambulance from a humanitarian agency should transport war casualties and not ammunitions”.
“The defense and security forces carried out an unexpected control of a humanitarian aid convoy by a partner organisation. It contained rice, soap and other basic needs. Paradoxically in this truck, there were also three boxes of ammunition, binoculars, Android mobile phones, etc,” he added.
Subsequently, “the Government now demands more transparency and more responsibility in the operations of our partners in the North-West and South-West Regions,” he stated.
Providing a balance sheet of the government humanitarian plan, Cameroon’s Territorial Administration boss told the press that 160.000 IDPs in the Anglophone regions and over 10.000 in the West, Center and Littoral regions have been beneficiaries.
“Under the enlightened leadership of the Head of State, the situation in the North-West and South-West Regions is under control and is gradually returning to normal notwithstanding certain pockets of resistance which the populations have the responsibility to partner with government in limiting them …the country is more solid and upbeat than ever before,” he declared.
“No, there is no humanitarian crisis in Cameroon, the situation is under control and it is well managed. The Head of State is already on the second part of this programme, namely development. In other words, it will be good to allow IDPs to be able to better care for themselves in the near future,” he ended.
Few hours after the above declarations, the Minister is facing backlash on social media with many accusing him and government of downplaying the situation in the regions.
Hours ago on Christmas Day, several gun battles were reported between government forces and Ambazonian fighters in different localities of the Anglophone regions, an indication of the deepening bloodbath that has led to over three thousand deaths since 2016.