Covid-19, Why Separatist Fighters Should Drop Their Guns

Tens of armed factions operate in the NW and SW regions

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has kept the world on a standstill for over a month now. The pandemic has brought world powers to their knees. Tens of thousands have perished with some of the most developed nations like USA, Italy, Spain, France and Britain bearing the brunt.

Coronavirus has become the talking point on all international, national and local news and on the lips of every living being. Countries that were plagued by wars, civil conflicts, surging crime waves have suddenly gone comatose with everyone tilting their attention towards Covid-19. Think of Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Mali, Nigeria and South Sudan just to name a few.

In Cameroon’s two English speaking regions, the North West and South West regions, the case isn’t the same. Despite calls from the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres for separatist fighters to drop their weapons and give chance for a cordinated response against the virus, many seems to be taking it for granted.

Factions of some armed groups in the anglophone conflict have even called for and are observing a cease fire. But fingers are now pointing at such groups as “blacklegs” to their “struggle”.

At the time of this report, Cameroon had over 900 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 and the number keeps increasing as the days go by.

With a looming public health crisis, its time enough for separatist fighters in bushes to drop their weapons and save themselves from catching the dreaded the virus. With the rate at which the virus is spreading, just one infection amongst the fighters in their hideouts could lead to a disaster, including near by community and subsequently the whole region and beyond.

For the sake of their health and those in the community in which they find themselves in, it’s time to leave the bushes and join efforts to kick the virus out of our communities.

The rainy season is now here and the health risks that comes with staying in the bush cannot be overemphasized. There are fears cases of malaria, typhoid etc could double. This could pose a serious health risk to the people in the areas they operate. Beside there are no health facilities in this areas which are fully operational due to the fighting.

Maybe it’s time for the fighters to rethink and come up with solutions if not at least a ceasefire. In the face of every major life threatening problem that confronts mankind’s very existence, humanity has always put aside differences to come tawards a common front against such obstacle. This is what has guaranteed our existence since the days of the neanderthals and should not be otherwise now. Even bitter enemies over the fault line in Yemen seem to understand this. Why not our separatist fighters and who says not, our defense forces for a life saving truce.

By Nji Nelson Chefor

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