A student details the clash between schoolmates and police at the University of Buea, during one of many protests in English-speaking regions of Cameroon in the last few months. Various groups are compiling information on arrests and the possible disappearance of citizens, and urging the release of demonstrators and sanctions against any police officers who used excessive force or committed other crimes.
African women are among those trapped in forced labor in Kuwait and other countries. One woman, recently rescued herself, is working to help them escape and educate others about the potential dangers of working abroad.
Suicide bombings by armed group Boko Haram have spiked in Cameroon, where residents are frustrated by the lack of international outcry to the violence. Local activists are working with youth to combat terrorism. Another attack was confirmed on Jan. 13 at a mosque in the Far North region.
It has been almost a year and a half since Cameroon banned the sale and use of nonbiodegradable plastic bags, a move that was intended to stem the proliferation of plastic pollution. But without an affordable alternative, and with customers demanding that groceries and other products be packaged, retailers created demand for smugglers who sneak the bags in from nations such as Nigeria. The government of Cameroon is trying to find a solution.
Bamenda radio listeners say news presenters on pidgin English shows treat women as sex objects and shame those who have been sexually assaulted or harassed. Fearing blame and ridicule, some women now refrain from reporting sex crimes. In response to frequent listener complaints, the government is educating broadcasters on the importance of professionalism – and it threatens to close down stations that continue to flout the journalism code of ethics.
In the capital of Cameroon’s Northwest region, some people who flag taxis won’t get in one driven by Solange Besong, the only woman among the city’s 4,000 registered cabbies. While some passengers doubt her competence or claim she’s just out to prove something, others commend and encourage her. Besong, who plans to drive heavy-duty trucks or construction vehicles someday, says she’s just earning a good living to raise her kids.
Many U.N. member nations have made strides toward the goal of reducing their maternal mortality rates by 75 percent from 1990 to 2015. Cameroon reduced its rate by only 18 percent from the benchmark year to 2013, the most recent year for which statistics are available. In response, the government is stepping up its efforts to help pregnant women, especially those living in rural areas, get access to quality prenatal care and clinic deliveries.
Wife inheritance and humiliating widowhood rites are the norm in some villages in the Northwest region of Cameroon. To end these practices, Anne Stella Fomumbod has come up with a rule book that protects the rights and honor of widows.