Following the summons of the leaders of the Catholic Church early this week, the Okada boys from the two main towns of the North West region, Bamenda and Kumbo are strongly mobilizing to storm the premises of the Bamenda Court of First Instance on Friday April 21 2017.
According to one of the Bike riders, they cannot sit back while their church leaders are being dragged to court and accused of crimes they did not commit.
“What have our church leaders done to be taken to court?” asks the bike rider. “They were instead the ones praying for this struggle to be resolved peacefully. Because of this summons, we are planning to visit the premises of the court of first instance tomorrow in our numbers to witness it ourselves”.
While pundits fear that the plan of the Okada boys to go out on April 21 may be deadly, others say there are no two ways to address the issue; they say the boys need to show massive support in their parade to up station.
However many have warned against violent protests given the heavy presence of the military in the city of Bamenda.
The Anglophone Teachers/Lawyers strike that started sometime in November 2016 and later deteriorated to civil disobedience within the Anglophone community in Cameroon, is again witnessing another phase; this time the government has turned directly to fight against the church. Some say this is a battle gone wrong and are asking whether anyone, including the government can fight against God.
After the summons issued by the Bamenda Court of First Instance to Fathers, Sisters and Principals of catholic schools in the Bamenda early this week, the High Court of Buea has proceeded to issue a summons the moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon; the Right Reverend Fonki Samuel.
Christian Critics say the government’s special advisers have gotten it all wrong this time. “Nobody can win the church including the government of Cameroon. The church Alias “The Body of Christ” is a no go area. If the government of Cameroon has decided to wage war against the church, then it should be prepared to fight against God Himself” says a Christian critic.
Rumours also have it that early this week, the Head of the Baptist church in Cameroon was also summoned in Bamenda to answer charges yet to be unveiled.
However, many protesters are happy that the church will finally fully join them in the struggle.
“Victory will be ours now that the church will formally and physically join in the struggle. Who can dare fight against God?” asks a happy protester.
A suicide bomber has killed at least four people including a gendarme officer in an attack today in Cameroon's Northern town of Kolofata, according to local French daily newspaper L'Oeil du Sahel.
Residents said they heard a loud explosion earlier today at Kolofata- Northern Region. The bomber was suspected to be a Boko Haram member, the local newspaper wrote.
It seems to have become a daily affair in Cameroon’s far north region with regular bomb and gun attacks, which leave many dead and send thousands away from their ancestral land.
In all, Boko Haram has killed more than 2000 civilians in Cameroon since 2014 in over 500 attacks, including 50 suicide bombings. About 150 soldiers and policemen have also died during that unconventional war.
Thousands have been kidnapped and hundreds of thousands have been displaced. But Mr. Biya has not found time in three years to show solidarity to troops or populations running helter-skelter and wondering where the leadership is.
The Information is confirmed by a close aid of the Moderator and later by the Communication Secretary of the PCC, Rev.MOKOKO Mbue Thomas who however said he has not yet read the summons but is aware that his Boss will appear in Court next week.
The Moderators message to Christians read thus, “Dear all, I have been summoned at the Buea High Court on Monday 24th of April 2017.The summons is in my name. We need your prayers. Moderator PCC.”
Last week some PCC Christians had dispelled rumors that the Moderator had been summoned.
The reasons for his summons have not been made but observers hold that it may be connected with the non school resumption in Presbyterian Schools.
The summons comes barely one week after Catholic Bishops in Bamenda received ‘Direct Summon’ form Consortium of Parents claiming the sum of 150.000.000 FCFA as special and general damages incurred by them as a result of the stalemate.
GENEVA — The World Health Organization said Tuesday that unprecedented progress had been made in tackling many of the world's most disfiguring and disabling neglected tropical diseases over the past 10 years.
Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, said there has been "record-breaking progress towards bringing ancient scourges like sleeping sickness and elephantiasis to their knees."
About 1.5 billion people in 149 countries, down from 1.9 billion in 2010, are affected by neglected tropical diseases (NTD), a group of 18 disorders that disproportionately affect the very poor.
In 2007, the WHO and a group of global partners devised a strategy for better tackling and controlling NTDs.
Five years ago, a group of nongovernmental organizations, private and public partners signed the London Declaration, committing greater support and resources to the elimination or eradication of 10 of the most common NTDs by the end of the decade.
"That has been a game changer in the expansion of NTD interventions worldwide," said Dirk Engel, director of the WHO's Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Meeting on Wednesday
The WHO's fourth report on neglected tropical diseases was launched to coincide with a one-day meeting Wednesday at the agency's headquarters to take stock of what has been achieved in the fight against NTDs and to explore ways to move the process forward.
Engel said health ministers, representatives from pharmaceutical companies, academics, donors and philanthropists "will look at the changing landscape of NTDs" and explore better ways of integrating the fight against these diseases into global health and development.
The report described achievements made in controlling the debilitating diseases. For example, it noted that an estimated 1 billion people received 1.5 billion treatments donated by pharmaceutical companies for one or more NTDs in 2015 alone.
It cited dramatic successes in efforts to eliminate visceral leishmaniasis, a parasitic, disfiguring disease that attacks the internal organs.
"If you get it, it kills. There is no way out," said Engel.
The disease is prevalent in Southeast Asia, particularly in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Engel said a subregional program was organized to provide early treatment with donated medicines and vector control through indoor residual spraying, similar to that used in malaria control.
"With those two interventions, you reduce the incidence of visceral leishmaniasis almost to nothing," said Engel. "And the aim was to have less than one case in 10,000 people at the subdistrict level, which is a tough target."
He noted that the disease had been eliminated in 82 percent of subdistricts in India, 97 percent of subdistricts in Bangladesh, and eliminated entirely in Nepal.
"This is a result that we had not anticipated a few years back," he said.
While Asia is burdened with the greatest number of NTD cases, Africa has the highest concentration of the diseases. Engel told VOA that between 450,000 and 500,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa were infected by at least one tropical disease — but usually several — at the same time.
He said Africa was making excellent progress in controlling neglected tropical diseases. African sleeping sickness has been reduced from 37,000 new cases in 1999 to fewer than 3,000 cases in 2015, and Guinea worm disease has gone down "to only 25 human cases, putting eradication within reach," he said.
Engel noted that lymphatic filariasis, an infection transmitted by mosquitoes, causing enlargement of limbs and genitals, also was being brought under control.
"Some countries are lagging a bit behind. Some countries are actually doing fairly well," he said. "We have just acknowledged the first African country that has eliminated lymphatic filariasis as a public health problem — Togo."
He noted that so much progress has been made in the treatment of onchocerciasis, or river blindness, that "we are now thinking of setting a new target of elimination post-2020."
In another important advance, the report found that trachoma, the world's leading infectious cause of blindness, "has been eliminated as a public health problem" in Oman, Morocco and Mexico.
Neglected tropical diseases used to be prevalent throughout the world. Now, they are found only in tropical and subtropical regions with unsafe water, bad hygiene and sanitation, and poor housing conditions.
"Poor people living in remote, rural areas, urban slums or conflict zones are most at risk," said the report.
The World Health Organization said improving water and sanitation for 2.4 billion people globally who lack these basic facilities was key to making further progress in the fight against neglected tropical diseases.
Christopher Fitzpatrick, health economist in the WHO's department of tropical diseases, told VOA that the socioeconomic costs in terms of lost productivity and out-of-pocket health expenditures by people infected with NTDs is very high.
"It has been calculated that for every dollar invested [in improving water and sanitation infrastructure], there will be about $30 of return to affected individuals," he said.
Libyan fishermen found the bodies of 28 migrants who appeared to have died of thirst and hunger after their boat broke down off the coast of Sabratha , a ministry of interior official said on Tuesday.
Since Libya fell into chaos after Muammar Gaddafi's fall in 2011, the North African country has become the main departure point for migrants hoping to reach Europe by sea. More than 150,000 have made the crossing to Italy annually over the past three years.
The 28 migrants, including four women, were found after sunset by the fishermen, who towed the vessel to shore, Interior Ministry security unit commander Ahmaida Khalifa Amsalam told Reuters. The victims were buried together in a cemetery for illegal migrants, he said.
"Their boat stopped in the middle of the water because the engine was broken," he said. He did not give details on any of the nationalities, but many illegal migrants are from sub-Saharan Africa.
Smugglers often pack migrants in flimsy inflatable dinghies, dispatching them to sea to get picked up by rescue ships and other vessels once they reach international waters. Some are intercepted and turned back by the Libyan coastguard.
U.N. Libya envoy Martin Kobler sharply criticized conditions in Libyan refugee in an interview with German broadcaster Bayerischen Rundfunk.
"The camps are in terrible condition. Women are being sexually abused, people are crowded together in small buildings and are being kept like animals. These are intolerable conditions that must be changed," he said.
Kobler said it was important to improve conditions in the camps, but the biggest priority should be to address the underlying reasons for the migration flows.
The U.N. migration agency last week reported that growing numbers of African migrants passing through Libya are traded in what they call slave markets before being held for ransom, forced labour or sexual exploitation.
Libya is the main gateway for migrants attempting to reach Europe by sea, with more than 150,000 people making the crossing in each of the past three years.
So far this year, an estimated 26,886 migrants have crossed to Italy, over 7,000 more than during the same period in 2016. More than 600 are known to have died at sea, while an unknown number perish during their journey north through the desert.
The German foreign ministry concluded in January that African migrants face executions, torture and other systematic rights abuses in camps in Libya, according to media reports.