UN condemns killing of a nurse in Cameroon


The United Nations “condemns in the strongest possible terms” the death of a nurse on Saturday in an attack by “suspected” members of armed groups in Cameroon’s English-speaking north-west, which has been plagued by bloody conflict between separatists and the military.

On Saturday, “suspected members of armed groups stopped a medical convoy” and “shot at one of the two vehicles”, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) statement. A nurse was killed and two others injured.

“This is unacceptable. Medical workers should be protected so that they can continue to save lives,” said Matthias Z. Naab, UN coordinator in Cameroon. The UN “condemns in the strongest terms” this attack and “calls on those responsible to refrain from obstructing access to medical services”, the UN said.

The northwest and southwest are mainly populated by the English-speaking minority in Cameroon, a predominantly French-speaking country ruled by 89-year-old President Paul Biya with an iron fist for nearly 40 years.

For the past five years, after the repression of peaceful demonstrations accusing Yaoundé of ostracising Anglophones, armed separatists and the military have clashed in a deadly conflict that has killed more than 6,000 people and displaced about a million, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank.

The NGO Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was forced to suspend its medical operations in the north-west as it was accused by the authorities of “colluding with local armed groups”, a charge the NGO denied. On Thursday, five MSF employees were also abducted by gunmen, this time in the Far North of the country, where jihadist groups linked to Nigeria operate.