A dusty, dry and conflict-affected area in the Far North region of Cameroon has been turned into a “land of hope” according to a mentor for people displaced by the activities of terrorists in the West African country.
The small plot of land next to Kourgui town was once a no-go area due to the presence of militia associated with the outlawed Boko Haram group. Now it has been transformed by local and internally displaced people into a productive garden providing food to the community and an income to the participants.
Survivors of terrorist atrocities in the Lake Chad region of Africa have been telling UN News about how they have been able to overcome the horror of kidnapping and being forced to watch their own close family members being executed.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and many thousands killed across the region over the past decade or so, as a result of a terrorist insurgency which continues to this day.
To mark the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism this coming Wednesday, UN News travelled to Chad and the Far North region of Cameroon in West Africa to interview people who have personal stories to tell about how terrorism has shattered their lives.
Young people in Chad are joining outlawed terrorist groups “because of ignorance,” according to a traditional leader in one of the most insecure and unstable parts of the West African country.
Youssouf Mbodou Mbami is the chief of the Canton of Bol and presides over a large swathe of Lake Chad, an area where many young people have been recruited or forced to join terrorist groups, such as Boko Haram.
It is not impossible to address the challenges of the Lake Chad region if local people can find ways to make a sustainable living, said an African Union envoy.
Saying the linkage between poverty and radicalization was “obvious”, Bineta Diop, AU Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security, also highlighted the importance of putting women, the “backbone” of society, at the centre during a time when gender roles are changing.
Daniel Dickinson asked her how big the development challenges were in the area.
It is critical to shore up areas of Africa’s Lake Chad Basin freed from the grip of Boko Haram, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General told the Security Council on Thursday, as she also called for efforts to rebuild the lives of women and girls that have suffered at the hands of the terrorist group.