How citizens are setting aside differences to fight against COVID-19 in Cameroon

As coronavirus continues to spread across Africa and the world, many people are coming together in a united effort to see an end to the ravaging pandemic. For the citizens of Cameroon, this means pausing a long and bloody conflict that has claimed many lives in the country to join the fight against COVID-19.

Cameroon has been caught in the middle of guerrilla warfare in its Northwest and Southwest regions as the English-speaking south tries to break away from the larger francophone country. The conflict which began in October 2016 has led to the death of at least 3,000 people and forced more than 700,000 people from their homes, with thousands fleeing across the border into Nigeria.

But with a new and deadlier enemy (COVID-19) on the horizon, some of the armed groups involved in the fighting have announced a ceasefire while ordinary citizens work together to curb the spread of the virus. The Southern Cameroons Defence Forces (Socadef) said the ceasefire is "a gesture of goodwill".

Meanwhile, the separatist governing council of Ambazonia is wary of opening up their communities or granting Cameroon unhindered access to everywhere in their towns and villages.

"We will continue to work with and provide humanitarian corridors with the international organisations on the ground that [they] have been vetted by us," Julius Nyiawung, vice president of the Ambazonia Governing Council told RFI.

As of April 29, Cameroon has the highest rate of coronavirus cases across Central Africa. The country currently has a total of 1,806 cases with 61 deaths and 934 recoveries. DR Congo follows behind with only 706 cases.

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