On February 11th, this year, the Cameroon military raided the small village of Tiben, in Batibo, in western Cameroon. A village family, including a father named Jonas Ndi, fled their home, fearing arbitrary arrest by the military. A child, sleeping, was left behind. In the attack, the military torched a quarter in the village, including Jonas Ndi's home. His child was burnt to death.
Atrocities such as this and ongoing human rights abuses and crimes against humanity against the Anglophone communities of northwest and southwest Cameroon are happening every day. These abuses are being diligently documented by the University of Toronto's "Cameroon Anglophone Crisis, Database of Atrocities."
The growing number of atrocities in the conflict has caught the attention of the new administration of U.S. President Joseph Biden. Indeed the Biden administration has acknowledged the severity of the crisis in Cameroon.
Jan Egeland, a former senior Norwegian diplomat who is the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), a partner of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, served in 2019 as a panelist at a UN Security Council meeting about the humanitarian crisis in Cameroon. According to an NRC survey utilizing four criteria to evaluate humanitarian crises in areas of conflict and disaster globally (number of displaced persons deriving from a crisis; political will to solve a crisis; international media attention on a crisis and level of financial aid for crisis relief), the NRC ranked Cameroon FIRST out of ten countries as the most neglected humanitarian crisis in the world for two consecutive years (2019 and 2020).
During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 19th, Secretary of State Blinken said that the administration would uphold US values in defending human rights in Africa and expressed concern with the conflict in Cameroon. Secretary Blinken said,
“The United States must actively participate in the resolution of the situation in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon where populations are victims of multifaceted violence.”