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Observatory on Violence and “Peace to the City” network

On Monday, June 10th, the Ecumenical Service for Peace, launched the first results of its “Observatory on the Multiform of Violence in Cameroon” and also consolidated activities of the Peace to the City Network, as part of its project on Peace and Security in the Central African sub-region.

The launch took place at the Desmund Tutu Hall of the Norbert Kenne Memorial Peace House and was coordinated by Prof Valentine Nga Ndongo of the Ministry of Towns. Three members of the scientific team of researchers (Victor Sonkwa, Celestin Chameni and Jean Paul Komon), each offered a specific presentation around the methodology, causes and manifestations of violence.

The four-page publication of the results of the observatory showed that the Littoral Province, specifically Douala, ranked first in terms of insecurity in the country. Douala was closely followed by Yaounde, Bafoussam, Bamenda and Maroua. Armed banditry, featured as the most common form of violence in each of these cities, followed by assassinations, assault and battery kidnapping and the rape of minors.

However, these results varied greatly amongst various regions; the following percentages better illustrate the intensity of the above mentioned manifestations. While high-way robbery is characteristic of the Far North, North and Adamawa provinces recording 66%, the West province topped the chart for armed banditry with 70%, closely followed by the North West 61% and the Centre with 58%. Again, the North West and Centre provinces featured almost equally in terms of assault and battery with a report of 37% that confirms earlier research results on ethnic conflicts that have been carried out and published by the Ecumenical Service for Peace in December 2000.

These manifestations of violence were analysed as related to wide-spread misery and poverty, easy availability and access to arms, high drug and alcoholic consumption and increasing family crises.

It was around these root causes and manifestations that participants and members of the Peace to the City Network – Cameroon, agreed to introduce Peace Clubs into schools and discourage children from watching violent films. They also agreed that members should formally engage themselves to the network, which will henceforth operate in the form of an alliance.

The Peace to the City Network also proposed that the observatory should focus on physical violence and examine both victims and perpetrators to determine criteria for the creation of each role. They also agreed that the index on violence should take into account how the remainder of the population is affected by these forms of physical violence.

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