On the morning of February 4, 2021, armed men opened fire on a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) ambulance in Southwest Cameroon. The incident occurred near Mbalangi, along the road that links Kumba to Buea, the capital of the Southwest region.
"The ambulance was hit and the nurse accompanying it was injured. Médecins Sans Frontières condemns this attack against our colleague and a clearly identified ambulance. Health care facilities, including ambulances, are not targets," said Antoinette Buinda, communication manager for MSF in the Southwest.
The act was committed by unidentified individuals, however, several speculate that the attack was carried out by one of the secessionist armed groups that scour the region.
According to information provided by the NGO, the ambulance that was attacked left Kumba to rescue a distressed case in Mbalangi. While it was on its way to the hospital in Muyuka, the ambulance was attacked, MSF adds.
Following the attack, "a second ambulance was sent to take care of the patient who is in critical condition and is now receiving medical care. Our colleague is also receiving medical care and is now recovering from her injuries (...)
MSF teams provide neutral and impartial humanitarian medical assistance through [our] emergency ambulance referrals, secondary level care, and a decentralized model of community-based care" Antoinette Buinda added.
For about 4 years now, defense and security forces have been fighting the separatist armed groups that terrorize residents in the Northwest and Southwest. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), health services and infrastructures were seriously damaged due to the violent acts perpetrated.
To improve access to care and meet the growing needs of the population, MSF teams are supporting approximately 30 hospitals and health centers in Bamenda, Widikum, Kumba, and Mamfe. They also operate a 24-hour ambulance service that carried out more than 9,000 transfers in 2019.
It’s noteworthy that aid workers are regularly targeted by armed groups in the Northwest and Southwest. Last year at least two aid workers were murdered by the separatist armed groups in those two regions.