The political crisis in the Anglophone regions of North West and South West Cameroon is continuing to cause misery and frustration for banana workers at at Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) plantations.
We have received a report this week, from Charles Mbide Kude, the General Secretary of the Fako Agricultural Workers Union (FAWU), that CDC has cut down its banana crops and is inviting workers to come and cultivate food crops for themselves on the plantations. Workers have not been paid for nine months. and FAWU is on the verge of collapse too.
France24 this week broadcast the report below from CDC, where workers talk about the attacks they have suffered, including having fingers cut off, and that the crisis means CDC has closed all but 7 of its 29 plantations, costing the company an estimated €53 million.
A recent Human Rights Watch report from the region, claims that soldiers, special army units and gendarmes have used indiscriminate force and torched hundreds of homes and public buildings in the Northwest and Southwest regions between October and March, killing 170 people. Civilians have also been attacked by armed Anglophone separatists during the same period.
Meanwhile, the UN estimates more than 437,000 people are currently displaced in Cameroon, 246,000 of them in the Southwest Region, 105,000 in the Northwest Region, and 86,000 in the Littoral and West Regions, many now living in overcrowded conditions, without proper shelter or health and sanitation support, while over 35,000 Cameroonians have been forced to to seek asylum in Nigeria.
Most of the displaced are women and children, who face grave situations whether in Cameroon or Nigeria. Having fled with very little, they are arriving in impoverished host communities where food supplies are strained and with few facilities for health, education, water and sanitation. Refugees are currently being hosted in settlements, and more than 47 villages along the border, dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs.