The group now named Boko Haram was formed in 2003 and was a follower of a young preacher known as Mohammed Yusuf. Today, Boko Haram is believed to be an umbrella-like structure with the real organisation at the very top. Financing is particularly through bank robberies, ransom kidnapping, and other illegal activities.
Almost 170,000 residents in Northern Cameroon have left their houses, while the place has accommodated about 73,000 refugees from Nigeria.
According to a social worker with Open Doors, Amora*, many Christians in the Far North area of Cameroon are experiencing various untold misery and pain in Cameroon caused by the jihadist insurgency group called Boko Haram.
“Yesterday, I only had one cup of grain left and there are 12 people in our home. We went to sleep last night not knowing what we will eat today. I went down on my knees and prayed that God helps me. I slept last night thinking that I would be knocking on doors for help this morning. But this morning, I was surprised to have someone knocking at the door instead. The visitor was a pastor and he told me that he has some food for us that I must come to the church to get it.
I was very happy to learn that what I was getting was a bag of rice, sugar, a bag of millet, fish, oil, and soap… My wife would be glad to know I am bringing soap for her. I feel God loves me.”
Mamadou, 46, revelead his gratitude to Amora, representative from Open Doors, a global charity organization during the latest aid and relief distribution to IDPs (internally displaced people) in Northern part of Cameroon.
Before the spread of the Boko Haram uprising in the region, Mamadou, his wife and seven children were living comfortably in Achigachia, a village near the Nigerian border. They owned a modest three-roomed house and he afforded to buy a motorcycle.
However, members of the Boko Haram got interested with his bike and wanted to get it from him. When he refused, he was threatened and their misery began. First he had to flee and be in hiding for weeks, but because his wife and children are being terrorized, the entire family fled to a safer place.
Mamadou’s family joined thousands of IDPs in the villages of northern Cameroon. In 2014, they lost their 12 year old daughter due to illness. They also learned that their house got burned down and they lost everything including their children’s birth certificates and other important documents.
Amora said: “Christians in the Far North Region of Cameroon are experiencing untold misery and pain that has been caused by the insurgency of the Boko Haram in the country. When the IDPs left their homes, they don’t bring anything. This assistance from Open Doors truly helps the church care for these numbers of IDPs.”
Based on the data gathered of World Watch Monitor, there are 68 Christians, a pastor included, who have been murdered since 2013. 40 churches in total have been burnt down and a school and two health centres have closed.
“All villages, particularly those with evident Christian presence, on the Nigeria-Cameroon border are affected. This is sad to the churches that are having less and less members. It is not easy to put into words the adversity caused by the insurgency of Boko Haram,” revealed Rev. Samuel Heteck, the president of the Protestant Churches’ Council in Northern Cameroon.
*Name changed for security reasons