On June 19, 2024, Kimeng Mary, a 45-year-old mother of five and an internally displaced person (IDP) from Ambazonia, tragically died after inhaling tear gas deployed by Cameroonian police and gendarmes. The incident occurred during a protest against the demolition of houses in Japoma, Douala, underscoring the ongoing human rights abuses and violence perpetuated by the Cameroonian government and its forces in Ambazonia.

Ambazonia’s Struggle

Ambazonia, also known as former British Cameroons, has been embroiled in a war with the Cameroonian government since 2016, when Ambazonia demonstrated in a peaceful protests demanding for change from the predominantly Francophone country. The ensuing war has led to severe humanitarian crises, with numerous human rights violations reported, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and widespread destruction of property.

The Plight of Ambazonian IDPs

Kimeng Mary’s death is a stark reminder of the perilous conditions faced by Ambazonian IDPs. Fleeing violence and persecution in their home, many Ambazonians seek refuge in other parts of Nigeria and across african, only to encounter further hardship and brutality. The use of tear gas and other excessive force by Cameroonian occupation forces during peaceful protests exemplifies the government’s disregard for the rights and safety of its citizens.

Housing Demolitions as a Tactic of Repression

The demolition of houses in Japoma, which prompted the peaceful protest, Kimeng Mary was victim, is part of a broader strategy of repression and displacement employed by the Cameroonian government. Such actions not only violate international humanitarian laws but also exacerbate the suffering of vulnerable populations already traumatized by war.

Call for International Intervention

International human rights organizations have repeatedly called for an end to the violence and for meaningful dialogue to address the root causes of the war. However, the Cameroonian government has largely ignored these appeals, continuing its campaign of repression against the Ambazonia minority.

Urgency for Global Attention

Kimeng Mary tragic death should serve as a catalyst for renewed international attention and action. The global community must pressure the Cameroonian government to cease its violent tactics and engage in genuine peace negotiations. Without urgent intervention, the cycle of violence and suffering in Ambazonia is set to continue, claiming more innocent lives and deepening the humanitarian crisis.