MSF Team Stopped From Rendering Services In Mabanda, Cameroon Despite Authorisation

The interruption was despite the Governor of the Southwest Region, Okalia Bilai, authorising the MSF team to carry out the humanitarian activities in the region.

A team of workers of the international humanitarian non-governmental organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Border (MSF) was recently blocked from carrying out its humanitarian work in Mabanda, near Kumba, Cameroon, by local administrative officials of the town. 

The development comes after the governor of the Southwest Region, Okalia Bilai, had authorised the organisation to proceed with the operations in Mabanda.

The NGO has suspended its operations in the two restive English-speaking regions of Northwest and Southwest Cameroon.

The MSF said in a statement that the governor of the Southwest region had authorised a team of its staff to go to Mabanda and donate medicines and medical equipment in great need in the zone.

On its way to deliver the medicines and medical equipment, the MSF team was stopped at a checkpoint in Mabanda, near the Meme divisional chief town of Kumba, where it returned to Kumba. 

While in Kumba, the team was taken to the gendarmerie brigade, where members were quizzed for several hours before being allowed to return to Buea, where they obtained the authorisation to deliver assistance in the Meme division.

The MSF said it is “extremely disappointed” but remains available to pursue dialogue with the authorities to obtain the liberation of some of its staff still detained, a move that would lead to the resumption of its suspended activities.

The Yaounde authorities had accused the international humanitarian NGO of collusion with separatist groups fighting against government forces in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.

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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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