Up To 20 Percent Of Captured Insurgents Are Women – Cameroon

Strategies aimed at reintegrating former fighters back into society must pay attention to the needs of women and girls caught up in conflicts, officials say.

As many as 20 percent of anti-government fighters captured and held by Cameroon are women, according to the body trying to reintegrate them into society.

Cameroon has announced it has a five-year project aimed at reintegrating former fighters from the Boko Haram and Anglophone insurgencies back into society. It will be based on strategies that have been employed in conflicts all over the world that try to return people who have been armed and told to go and kill, back into a society that might view them with suspicion.  

The National Committee on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (NCDDR) said they would be “taking into account the needs and specific interests of women and girls associated with armed groups” in their efforts

The strategy would have an execution period of five years with the objective of ameliorating the management and promotion of females within the disarmament, demobilisation and reinsertion centres.

“Within four years of existence of the NCDDR, we have noted that the females represent 20percent of former fighters and their associates in the centres,” said Jean Claude Obam, head of the department of disarmament operations and demobilisation in the NCDDR. “The implementation of this strategy on the ground would be done through training and sensitization campaigns, the increase in the engagement of women and girls in the DDR process, their protection against stigmatisation and violence based on their gender”.

According to official figures, the total number of former female fighters and associates in the various DDR centres nationwide stands at 770.

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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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