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MSF Negotiating Return To Northwest Cameroon After Accusation Of Aiding Separatists

MSF was in 2020 banned from acting in Cameroon over allegations of aiding armed groups in the Northwest region.

The international humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGO), Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Tuesday, May 11, 2021 started negotiations with the Cameroon Ministry of External Relations towards resuming humanitarian activities in the Northwest region of the country.

MSF activities in the Northwest region were suspended in December 2020 by the region’s governor who accused MSF of aiding armed bands and separatists. 

In an attempt to relaunch activities in the Northwest region, the Director General of MSF, Stephen Paul Cornish, last Tuesday met with the Cameroon Minister of External Relations, Lejeune Mbella Mbella, for discussions on how to tackle the issue.

MSF has been carrying out activities in Cameroon for the past 35 years and has been very active in the Far North, Northwest, and Southwest regions where they have been providing medical assistance consisting of nutrition and mental care, promotion of healthy living, and urgent surgery in cases of a massive influx of wounded persons.

‚ÄúThese three regions are in effect subject to diverse security threats which have caused important humanitarian and health needs. The support of MSF has been still very visible since the apparition of the Covid-19. The NGO supports the Cameroon government‚Äôs response team in the affected zones and in the city of Yaounde. It has, among other things, invested in the construction of infrastructure that house coronavirus patients. These aspects were also discussed by Minister Mbella Mbella and Stephen Paul Cornish during the audience‚ÄĚ, a statement issued after the meeting revealed.

Despite evident disagreements between the two sides, the Tuesday meeting is a sign that Cameroon is open to all types of humanitarian interventions from associations, NGOs, or friendly countries.

‚ÄúThe only thing there is that they carry out their activities in the strict respect of the law and avoid doing things, susceptible of creating or poisoning the security situation in their zones of activities‚ÄĚ, a source in the Ministry of Territorial Administration warned.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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