More than 200 women, all dressed in black, rallied on Tuesday in Cameroon’s capital Yaounde to denounce violence against women in the country’s English-speaking regions that have been ravaged by a separatist conflict since 2017.
Beheadings, mutilations, murders and all forms of violence against women in the regions must stop, said Marie-Therese Abena Ondoa, Cameroon’s Minister of Women Empowerment and Family, who organized the protest.
“We have had enough. Attacks on women and children need to stop. We need peace and stability in the regions,” Ondoa told reporters.
Protesters said women should feel safe and protected all over the country and demanded that gunmen lay down arms “to give peace a chance.”
Acts of violence against women in the restive regions have grabbed headlines across Cameroon in recent months.
In August, there was outrage in the country after suspected armed separatists in Muyuka, a locality in the troubled region of Southwest kidnapped, brutalised, killed and then beheaded a mother of three whom they accused of conniving with government forces to leak their hideouts.
Separatists have been seeking to secede from the majority French-speaking Cameroon and create an independent nation in the two Anglophone regions of Northwest and Southwest which they call “Ambazonia.” They have been clashing with government forces since 2017.