Spate of violence in Menchum Valley, a subdivision in Menchum, Northwest Region, has paralysed activities in hospitals and medical centres. Incessant attacks between the Cameroon’s Defence Forces and the Ambazonian fighters, have caused medical personell to vacate the area and run to safer sites.
According to an authoritative source who works with one of the government health centres in Benakuma, headquarters of Menchum Valley, indiscriminate shootings adorned with threats from the military not to treat civilians, caused the medics to run for their lives.
“All medical personnel have run for safety in fear of reprisal attacks. We have continuously been receiving threats from the military not to treat any civilian with blood, in suspect that the civilian would be an Amba fighter. The shootings there on daily basis is too much. We could not bare it for long,” narrated, our source, who pleaded for anonymity.
The source expantiated by saying that these medical facilities used to take care of over 60,000 people who live in the16 villages that make up the valley. The absence of the hospital, he added, will mean the explosion of some of those epidermal diseases, which used to be contained at the health centres.
“Health centres like that of Beba, Mukuru, Befang, Benade, Modelle, Baworo, Benabinge and the district hospital in Benakuma-Esimbi, are all closed since mid-July. In fact, we used to have over 10 blood transfusions in a month for mostly kids, and over 12 deliveries. We also operated other complicated activities like caesarean session, hyena, etc. I wonder what has become of that over 60000 inhabitants of that sub division”the source narrated.
The situation becomes even more compounding with the absence of administrative authorities who have all fled the incessant violence that characterise the subdivision.
It should be noted that, ever since the Divisional Officer of Menchum Valley, Lokombe Derek Mwanjo, was arrested and later released, all, if not, most of the supervisory authorities (including him), long fled the sub division, living their sub ordinates to the mercy of the unending violence.
Reports say the roads leading to the sub division remain largely blocked, making accessibility impossible.
“Menchum Valley Sub-divisional headquarters, Benakuma, has been in darkness and no telephony network, since July 3, 2017. All roads blocked by Amba fighters. All the administrators and even the security forces have run away. We felt left all alone, so we had no choice but to also flee for our sear lives,” the source elucidated.
Menchum Valley is bordered in the West by Cross-River State Nigeria, South by Akwaya and Balin, in the North by Wum Central and Esu, and in the east by Bafut
The situation in Menchum Valley is not isolated.
Investigations over the past eight months have shown that medical personnel are being targeted by largely government forces, who insist that patients with bullet wounds should not be treated.
A certain medic in Menji, Lebialem, was killed earlier this year while on duty. Same fate has been medics in Munyenge, Kwa-kwa, like other places.
Such punitive sanctions have caused many of these medics to fled their area of operation, hence, leaving the vulnerable villagers to perish in their illness.
According to a UN resolution on protecting hospitals, medical professionals and patients from “an epidemic of attacks” on health facilities in war zones, all parties to armed conflicts must fully comply with their obligations under international law … to ensure the respect and protection of all medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities”.
The resolution, which was drafted by New Zealand, Spain, Egypt, Japan and Uruguay and adopted in 2015, came days after 55 people died when a hospital was bombed in the Syrian city of Aleppo.