Author: Carl

Boko Haram’s brutal attack on Cameroon’s capital

Boko Haram’s brutal attack on Cameroon’s capital

They fled a Boko Haram massacre. Now, after years in refugee camps, families return to rebuild their lives in Cameroon’s capital

It was a small group of people who were in the city of Cameroon’s capital, Buea. Their number included the wife, Gery Mba, of two women carrying children and a man carrying a sack of bricks on his back.

At an age when most children are taking ballet lessons or playing football, two small girls were busy picking up bricks, which they had found left behind in the rubble of a destroyed building.

The group decided to set off on foot on a dangerous trip to Cameroon’s central region, where Boko Haram had held a mass execution earlier that year. It was their first time in the country’s main city.

“We were afraid to set foot on the street because we wanted to visit a place we never stepped and which we have always avoided. That’s why we went there to see if the children would be OK, and if the house we are staying in will be safe,” said their mother, Euny Mba, who runs a small sewing and tailoring business.

Boko Haram swept into Cameroon after a wave of abductions and killings of residents. The jihadist group’s fighters have razed houses and kidnapped girls and women to use as wives.

In February and March 2015, the extremists, who have kidnapped hundreds of girls and forced others to marry them, killed more than 1,000 people in their most brutal attack yet on the country’s main city.

Some residents fled their homes in fear of Boko Haram fighters, and others had to flee after their houses were attacked with rocket and bomb launchers – sometimes by the militants themselves.

In the months since then, Cameroon has struggled to return to normality; some parts of the city had to be cleared of what was once a thriving commerce district. It is now a dusty wasteland, a reminder of what could have been.

But when residents return to their ruined house and see the extent of the damage and how much life has since returned,

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