By Amos Muang Nsah
47 year old Kimbi Cyprian, board member of Unity Foundation Cameroon (UFC), an NGO with its headquarters in Fonfuka, Bum Sub Division, Boyo Division is one of these aid workers that have paid the price.
Since the beginning of the crisis in Cameroon’s English Speaking regions late 2016, he has, through Unity Foundation Cameroon been involved in the training on income generating activities, offering basic needs and shelter to some IDPs and even helping treat those who sustained injuries.
Security officers because of his closeness to the suffering population misinterpreted his actions and thought he was collaborating with separatist fighters. For this reason, he was arrested on several occasions by Cameroon’s soldiers. The latest arrest was on December 14, 2020, when Mr. Kimbi was whisked from his home town, Fonfuka and taken to a military camp in Nkambe where he spent almost a week under investigation. He was freed after found not guilty of any wrongdoing.
Few months after his release, the father of five, was abducted from his residence by separatist fighters to their camp in Kichowi, a neighbouring village. He spent over two weeks in captivity and was freed after his family paid over 2 million FCFA as ransom.
To make matters worse, the same group of abductees on the night of June 30, 2021, burned down his home as they accused him of being a “black leg“.
This almost cost the life of his family. Mr Kimbi managed to escape the blaze together with his wife and five children to an undisclosed location.
Since last year 2021, Kimbi Cyprian for fear of continuous attacks on him and his family, has never set his feet in Fonkuka and his activities have halted.
“It is really a pity that people of good faith are being persecuted while those committing atrocities are going about their activities unperturbed. Unity Foundation Cameroon, is the only NGO in the Sub division offering us assistance, we now live at the mercy of God”, Chia Frida, one of the IDPs said.
This is not the first time aid workers or humanitarian NGOs are accused of collaborating with separatists or separatists accuse them of collaborating with government forces. The Ayah Foundation, a Buea based NGO, South West region have been accused by pro-government supporters of supplying arms to separatist fighters.
The Foundation through its President, Ayah Abine denied the allegations and dragged some persons to court for false accusations.