Liesbeth van der Heide on Dutch News Website NU.nl on Boko Harm in Northern Cameroon
Terrorist organisation Boko Haram is gaining influence in the region, politicians who do not care about the people, extremists, separatists. The situation in Northern Cameroon is deteriorating. Mora is the last secure city, the area surrounding it is a war zone.
Boko Haram is committing attacks on a regular basis. People are being abducted, large herds of cattle are stolen and crops are taken or burned down. Many people have fled the violence. Many Nigerians, who fled Boko Haram and found a safe haven in Northern Cameroon, are having to deal with the same situation all over again. Liesbeth van der Heide, Education and Research Staff Member at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs at Leiden University sees the situation worsening; 'although it's difficult to make general statements about that region, There are many structural issues in the Sahel that contribute to the situation, but most of the time the individual conflicts are very localised. It's amazing how quickly things can get out of hand.'
Boko Haram has a large recruitment pool they can choose from. Over 64 per cent of the 150 million inhabitants of the Sahel is under 25 years of age. As a result of this high percentage, the traditional models are no longer working, according to van der Heide. 'In herdsman families the eldest son usually takes over from his father. But what about his eight brothers, what are they supposed to do? They can migrate to the cities where there's also a lot of inequality and quite often you're having to pay to get a job.'
As a result of climate change and ground erosion, the risk of conflicts in the region is rising. Each year, the Sahara advances by 1.5 kilometres 'The amount of available land, for either agriculture or cattle breeding, is shrinking. Forcing the nomadic communities in the region to move south. Which results in conflicts over land,' says Van der Heide.
You can read the full article (in Dutch) on NU.nl