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Christians escape with lives as Boko Haram militants step up attacks on northern Cameroon villages


23 July 2019

About 200 families escaped with their lives when Boko Haram Islamist militants ransacked a mainly-Christian village in the Far North Region of Cameroon on 10 July.

Following several previous Boko Haram raids in the area, the families were sleeping in the bush to avoid further attacks when the armed gang stormed Roum village, in the Tourou area, setting fire to homes, killing livestock and plundering food stores and possessions.

Boy returns to burnt out home in Christian village ransacked by Boko Haram
Boy returns to a burnt out home in Christian village ransacked by Boko Haram

A Barnabas contact said the villagers had lost everything and are now taking refuge at a local school. He estimated around 1,120 families in the area were “living in distress” following the attack on Roum, and Boko Haram’s destructive onslaughts on other villages including Goldavi on 5 July, Zeleved on 10 July and Amchide on 11 July.

He said, “The populations have all lost food stocks, clothing, sleeping sets and many other material goods and animals. These attacks led to great fear, psychosis, trauma and panic among the populations.”

The contact reported there had been a resurgence of attacks by Boko Haram since January 2019. He added that the impact of the onslaught is especially devastating because July, August and September are the lean months between harvests in Cameroon. It is also the rainy season when many roads turn to mud, and the security forces are less mobile.

More than 1,100 Christian families are “living in distress” in northern Cameroon following Boko Haram attacks on villages destroying homes, possessions and livestock
More than 1,100 Christian families are “living in distress” in northern Cameroon following Boko Haram attacks on villages destroying homes, possessions and livestock

Christian villages in the far north of Cameroon are subject to attacks by Boko Haram militias attempting to establish an Islamic caliphate from north-eastern Nigeria all the way to northern Cameroon, which is predominantly Christian. The UN estimates that more than 170,000 Cameroonians, mainly Christians, have been forced to flee their homes by Boko Haram.

From Barnabas Fund contacts