By Tata Mbunwe
Gunmen injured a nurse working with Doctors Without Borders after firing at the NGO’s ambulance near the roadside village of Mbalangi along the Kumba-Buea highway in the Southwest region.
The attack occurred in the early hours of Thursday, February 4, while the ambulance was responding to a call to rescue a dying patient in Mbalangi.
Doctors Without Borders said in a statement that the vehicle was hit and the accompanying nurse injured and a second ambulance had to be dispatched to rescue the patient who was in a critical state.
“Following this attack, a second ambulance was dispatched to pick up the patient who is in critical condition and now receiving medical attention. Our colleague is also receiving medical attention and is currently recovering from their injuries,” the statement read.
MSF condemned the attack, urging that healthcare facilities, including ambulances, should not be targets in conflict.
The attack on the ambulance violates Article 3 of the Geneva Declaration on the treatment of neutral parties in war and conflict.
Article 3(2) provides that, “An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the parties to the conflict,” including members of armed militias who are sick or wounded.
Doctors Without Borders is one of the non-governmental organizations responding to the humanitarian needs of thousands of Anglophone Cameroonians trapped in a conflict pitching Separatists and the Government since 2016.
But navigating through bullets into the bushes and villages where several people are hiding is proving difficult to these organizations as the conflict situation does not guarantee even the survival of humanitarian workers.
“MSF medical teams have been responding to the severe and ongoing effects of the crisis in North-West and South-West Cameroon since 2018. Our teams provide neutral and impartial medical humanitarian assistance through our emergency ambulance referrals, secondary level care, and a decentralized model of community care,” said DWB.