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Denied Asylum in the U.S., Cameroonians Fear Increasing Violence Back Home

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Martin heard the French-speaking policemen before he could see them. It was the first day of September in 2017 and he had been picking plantains on the far end of his family’s cocoa farm in Mamfe, Cameroon, when a commotion broke out. He walked over to the area where local farmers hired for the new season were working, only to find them and his father surrounded by a group of armed military men dressed in fatigues. “Turn around and run away!” Martin heard his father shout as a bullet cut through the air around him.

That night and for the following month, Martin, whose last name is omitted for his safety, his mother, and his four younger siblings sought refuge in a wooded area behind the property. For many Anglophone families like Martin’s, the mosquito-infested bushes had become hideouts to avoid the increasingly common police roundups. They had even developed a communication system between the farms: Whenever a neighbor rang a bell, everyone else knew to run to the bushes.

The Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon have been in turmoil ever since late 2016, when the Francophone central government violently suppressed a series of peaceful protests against the marginalization of the English-speaking minority—about 20 percent of the overall population. In response to the crackdown, separatist groups gained traction, prompting security forces to raid villages like Martin’s and targeting those suspected of supporting the cause.

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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !