23, July 2018
Residents of Tiben, a rural village in Cameroon’s Northwest region are still mourning but returning to life after an alleged military-led retaliation took the lives of 15 people July 12.
Reports indicate that people were collecting their wares to head to the nearby market when trucks of people wearing military-like fatigues and with advanced weapons stormed into the village and opened fire, targeting women and children. The apparent soldiers shot a number people as they fled and then proceeded to kill a family harboring those fleeing the conflict, taking the life of a teacher who owned the house.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in Tiben and the overall conflict taking place in Northwest Cameroon,” said Adam Cole, executive director for Join the Journey.
“Join the Journey is committed to justice and serving others as Jesus Christ would, and we stand with the people of Tiben in this period of recovery. May God heal these wounds.”
Tiben lies in Cameroon’s English-speaking Northwest region, near the border with Nigeria, where a long-running conflict has smoldered between residents here and the national French-speaking majority government. Those in the Northwest who are striving for their own country— or at least autonomy under the name Ambazonia—seek to establish public services and other rights of life that have been ignored by the government.
Ambazonia’s call for independence has increased over the last several months and so have killings like the ones in Tiben. Similar reports and accompanying video of shootings occurred elsewhere in Cameroon. Amnesty International’s recent analysis links that particular killing to military forces.
One of the deaths in Tiben was Enjeck Helen Enjei, who had been selected as one of five candidates for Join the Journey’s micro-loan program. The program was in the early stages of launching before the recent tragedy. Join the Journey had already been running a poultry empowerment program in Tiben and had assisted several churches in the village with rice distributions during holidays.