The situation in the NWSW regions remained dire in February with continued violence and targeted attacks. The population remained caught up between parties to the ongoing crisis. Cases of harassment of the local population by parties to the conflict were reported in many communities. Some people were targeted for alleged association with one side or the other, and others caught by stray bullets during crossfire.
Hostilities were reported in Nwa subdivision in the North-West (NW) region. Between 22 and 26 February, an estimated 4,200 individuals were displaced from Tong, Sih, Bom, Nyack, Nfeh, Kwack, and Yang villages in Nwa subdivision due to attacks from Fulani vigilante groups. These attacks led to the death of at least eight people. There have also been reports of fighting between non-State armed groups (NSAGs) and the Fulani vigilante groups within these communities.
Attacks against traditional leaders resurfaced in February. On 13 February, four traditional rulers, the chiefs of Ndung Ngoh, Nchanalleh, Mbrah, and Aleshesuoh villages in the Lebialem division in the South-West region (SW) were abducted from their homes and taken to the market square of Essoh Attah village in Lebialem division where they were shot dead. On 14 February, the traditional ruler of Kom village in the Boyo division in the North-West region (NW) was abducted from his palace by NSAGs and taken to their camp. He was released two hours later, as the local population gathered at the NSAG camp to demand his release. Following this incident, cases of harassment and movement restrictions were reported on the road from Fundong to Njinikom, with NSAGs asking for money from passers-by.
Humanitarian actors continued to operate under numerous constraints. On 4 February, a nurse working with an international NGO was injured by gunshots as their ambulance was caught in a crossfire during a NSAG attack in Mbalangi village in the Mbonge subdivision in the SW. On 25 February, a food distribution activity was interrupted by a NSAGs attack in a locality in the Muyuka subdivision in the SW. On 27 February, a UN staff onboard a public transport bus traveling from Bamenda to Kumba was removed from the bus alongside other passengers, assaulted and taken to the bush by unidentified gunmen suspected to be NSAG fighters. In Fundong, Boyo division in the NW, some partners have been forced to stop distribution activities due to access constraints.
The use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) remains prevalent, with at least ten incidents reported of IEDs detonated or dismantled during February. Humanitarian agencies are not targeted by IEDs but remain at risk of becoming collateral damage or being at the wrong time/ wrong place.
Attacks against school staff continued in February. On 17 February, two teachers at the Government’s secondary school of Abangoh quarter, in the Bamenda 2 subdivision in the NW, were allegedly abducted on campus by suspected NSAG fighters. No further information was available about their whereabouts.
Violence has resulted in multiple population displacement across the NWSW regions with over 10,741 people forced to flee their homes to seek shelter and safety in nearby bushes, villages and towns in February alone. The Donga-Mantung, Bui, Boyo and Mezam divisions in the NW, and the Lebialem and Manyu divisions in the SW, are the most affected.