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Cameroonians Escaping Boko Haram Terrorist Group get rejected by their communities, face several forms of violence after returning home

Sali Bobo, a Cameroon-based rights advocate, says even those lucky enough to have escaped the militants find that peace remains frustratingly elusive

Refugees. Image source: VOA

Hundreds of Cameroonians living in northern Nigeria, near territory controlled by the Boko Haram terrorist group, are escaping atrocities and returning to their villages of birth with the hope of finding peace. Rights groups, however, say the returnees are rejected by their communities and face several forms of violence.

One hundred returnees who recently arrived at the northern Cameroon border village of Zamai, where people such as Zenabou Abu, 40, talk of the lengthy treks required to find peace and stability.

Abu, who escaped the Sambisa forest stronghold of Boko Haram along the Cameroon-Nigeria border, walked for three weeks — with her eight children in two — to get here. It was upon arriving that she saw her husband for the first time in four years, and finally learned from old friends that her parents had departed Zamai 36 years ago, when she was a kid getting settled in Sambisa with cattle ranchers.

At Zamai’s joint Cameroonian-UN operated resettlement camp, Houli Bernadette attends to pregnant and sick returnees. One of them, a 15-year-old girl, had been forced to marry a Boko Haram member.

“She was asked to stop school and forced to get married to a Boko Haram agent when she was 14,” says Bernadette “She says the girl’s husband is wanted by law enforcement authorities for selling stolen cattle and handing the money to Boko Haram fighters.”

UN: 25,000 killed, 2.5 million displaced

Since Boko Haram began launching attacks in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger three years ago, the group has destroyed villages and killed residents, especially men who refused to join them. According to United Nations estimates, some 25,000 have been killed and more that 2.5 million have been displaced.

Sali Bobo, a Cameroon-based rights advocate, says even those lucky enough to have escaped the militants find that peace remains frustratingly elusive.

“They are deeply traumatized because one day they saw foreigners arrive in their villages and slaughter their husbands and male children,” he says. “Memories of the horror keep coming to their minds, especially when they see people they have never seen before. They’re scared and find it very difficult to communicate.”

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Beyond being perceived as outsiders, Bobo adds, new arrivals are forced to compete with locals for limited resources. Displaced women and girls, who are extremely poor if not homeless, frequently suffer sexual harassment and sometimes rape, he says.

“The returnees, who are mainly women and children, [are ordered] to obey the people of Zamai village who have agreed to host them,” said Ibrahim Hamaoua, Zamai’s traditional ruler of Zamai, explaining that conflicts over food and water erupt regularly.

“Within the past two months, hundreds of returnees have complained of hunger and thirst,” he added. “The villagers are not happy because they themselves have not had enough to eat and drink.”

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In February, the United Nations called on the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria to ensure that areas purportedly liberated from Boko Haram forces are truly safe for people returning home. (VOA)


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Make Women’s Day Special With These Gifts

If you are looking for some excellent ideas to make the women of your life extremely special, here are some

women's day
This is the special day when each person must reflect on how valuable the various women in one's life are. Pixabay

A very special day earmarked by the United Nations to celebrate the womanhood, appreciate all the women achievers, the entire progress made by women in every field and of course, bring in a sense of closeness amidst women from all across the world, the International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8th. It is a very special day.

This is the special day when each person must reflect on how valuable the various women in one’s life are. It is that particular day where women must set targets for themselves and reflect on their achievement in the past.

Regardless the gender, everyone should celebrate this special day. It’s not really necessary to make the celebration highly extravagant, rather it could be as simple as making a good meal for the lady of your life or penning down all the thoughts about what the lady of your life means to you.

If you are looking for some excellent ideas to make the women of your life extremely special, here are some-

ALSO READ: A welcome step for women empowerment laws, soon to be introduced law will help to prevent women’s abuse in NRI marriages: Rakesh Srivastava

women's day
What could be a better gift for the woman of your life than gifting her a bunch of exotic fresh red Roses?

Give Her A Nice Floral Gifts:

Roses resemble the color of love and admiration and gifting the important women with red Roses show your heartfelt love and respect for them. If you want to make the floral gift more personalized, accompany the roses with the personally written note highlighting about the things you admire about the lady and you would definitely see her glow with the complete happiness on her face.

women's day
Making a meal for the special woman is always a heart touching gesture.

Make A Nice Brunch For Her:

Mornings are definitely the challenging time for most of the women and they take all the responsibilities of cooking, organizing the meals etc and all they do without letting anyone even know about it. How about let her sleep for longer on this special day? You can prepare the entire breakfast and lunch for your woman and give it as a nice surprise to her.

women's day
These days you can easily order the cakes online from the comfort of your home.

Order A Very Delicious Women‘s Day Special Cake:

Any occasion is incomplete without a cake cutting ceremony and the celebration of Women’s day is also not an exception to it. You must make it really memorable with a nice cake cutting celebration. You can easily buy Happy Women’s Day cake from any online store and make a cake cutting ceremony to honor all the achievements of the woman of your life. Most the popular online stores offer some of the excellent discount deals and availing such discount deals could be a great way to save some good amount of cash.

ALSO READ: International Women’s Day: Eight actionable areas for women’s empowerment

Gift Her Something Nice For Her Professional Life:

She is the working woman and she spends a significant amount of time in office so gifting her something related to her regular job will be a nice idea. How about gifting your woman a vintage looking pen or a well-designed notebook for keeping all the tabs of her regular works? She will definitely appreciate these types of gift items.

women's day
Is she a gardening enthusiast?

A Potted Plant:

Does she spend a good amount of time for a gardening purpose on a regular basis? If the answer is yes, buying a potted plant could be an excellent Women’s Day gift idea for her. You can actually expect to see her smiling all day long and every time she waters the plant, she will be remembering you.