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Why Doctors, Academia, Clergy must be protected during Crisis

When certain institutions and structures become targets during war, then the safety of everyone becomes worrisome.

According to the Vienna Convention ratified in 2005, ambulances, schools, churches, hospitals with personnel serving within these structures are to be recognised as neutral and protected during conflict or war.

Ambulance attacked by the military

Known as the Geneva Convention, this agreement became the foundation of modern international humanitarian law, which now encompasses four conventions and three additional protocols. Collectively, they represent modern efforts to protect people in times of armed conflict.

In the heat of the ongoing Crisis rocking the two English-speaking Regions of Cameroon, the preservation, respect and protection of these sacred structures have not been kept sacred as these institutions are constantly being targeted by on daily bases either by the military or pro-independence fighters.

Nurses, Priests, Schools, Teachers, Churches, and Ambulances are constantly being attacked during confrontations in the conflict hit North West and South West Regions of Cameroon.

Meanwhile, Churches, Priests have been attacked leading to heavy casualties. The Mamfe Diocese was recently ransacked by soldiers rendering Priests and other occupants homeless. Recently, Fr Alexander Nougi Sob, Priest of Buea Diocese was killed in Muyuka and another in Bamenda by ‘stray’ bullets as it is reported.

Since the beginning of the Crisis, many schools have been attacked and burnt to ashes in the two English-speaking Regions, purportedly orchestrated by the pro-independence fighters and most often by Government security forces.

Hospitals and health centres have all been abandoned because of the constant attack on these structures by both the military and pro-independence fighters. Nurses and Medical Doctors serving in these institutions have either been kidnapped or killed while exercising their duties.

The South West Regional Delegate of Public Health, Dr. Victor Mbome Njie, stated that 15 out of the 18 Health Distract in the South West Region have been crippled by the on-going Anglophone Crisis.

The most recent case was last evening in Mbingo in the North West Region when an ambulance transporting patients was targeted by bullets. Anonymous sources have blamed security forces for the shootings which left a nurse seriously injured. The Nurse is currently receiving treatment in a local hospital in Bamenda.

“It very fortunate, that the shootings started when the bus was on its way from Mbingo, after patients had been deposited. The casualties would have been more,” a source hinted The National Times.

This is not the first time ambulances, Red Cross, hospitals and staffs are targeted since the Crisis stated. Human Rights lawyers have referred to this phenomenon as war crimes and crimes against humanity.