Boko Haram’s activity in the Lake Chad Basin was at its peak in 2014–2015 and declined afterwards.? Since 2019, an increase in violent events by Boko Haram and other armed groups, such as attacks, killings, and kidnappings, has been observed in the area, including in the Far North region of Cameroon.? A total of 28 violent events against civilians were reported in the Far North region in the second quarter of 2019, and have gradually increased – reaching a peak of 67 events in the first quarter of 2020.?The increased frequency of violent attacks targeting civilians and IDP populations is expected to continue. Between 1 August and 14 September 2020, three deadly attacks were carried out in different IDP camps or villages hosting IDPs. At least 32 people were killed and over 40 wounded.?In the first half of 2020, violent events triggered around 21,000 new displacements, especially in the Mayo-Sava department, which borders Nigeria.?
Over 4.7 million people live in the Far North region – 1.2 million of whom are in urgent need of humanitarian aid, especiallyhealthcare and mental health assistance.?As of 30 September 2020, over 114,000 refugees, almost 322,000 IDPs, and more than 123,000 returnees were hosted in the region.?This population is particularly in need of protection, and lacks access to health and nutrition assistance.?60% of the refugees and 64% of the IDPs and IDP returnees are minors.?Child protection and access to education are key priorities. Insecurity impacts livelihoods and increases the need for food assistance, especially for IDPs, refugees, and returnees. 690,000 people are estimated to be food insecure from April–December 2020, taking into consideration the impact of COVID-19.?
Combined factors contributing to the rise in violent attacks against civilians in the Far North region are the porous border between Nigeria and Cameroon, a lower presence of security forces in both the Far North region and the Nigerian northeast states where Boko Haram is based, and the decreased effectiveness of the Multinational Joint Task Force operations as a result of disjointed planning and funding issues?
The increase of violent events targeting civilian and displaced populations will lead to a surge in population movements, including secondary displacements, and an increase in the number of refugees and IDPs needing shelter, food, water, and non-food items (NFIs). Population movements will put additional pressure on already scarce natural and financial resources. As the majority of the displaced population are minors, child protection needs will intensify, with a particular focus on gender-based violence for girls and protection from forced recruitment for boys.? Violent attacks will also increase food insecurity and worsen malnutrition – because of the consequences of displacement on people’s livelihoods, access to land, and job opportunities.
Humanitarian access in the Far North region is already very limited. Insecurity and violence impact people’s freedom of movement, including humanitarian actors’.? The increase in violence by Boko Haram militants will worsen the situation, both in terms of humanitarian workers accessing the affected population and people in need accessing humanitarian aid. The population will likely be further isolated from services and assistance. Cameroon is experiencing an additional security crisis in the Southwest and Northwest anglophone regions, which limits the humanitarian and national response to the Boko Haram crisis.
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