We write this post today to say we are very sorry for not updating you regularly about our conservation activities in the Abongphen Highland Forest. This has been to a great extent due to reasons beyond our control.
We are very much aware of our responsibility to give regular updates on how we are progressively working to achieve our conservation goals which are to (1) restore at least 1,000 hectares of the original area of the forest by surround the remaining bits of the forest with fire-resistant hedgerow, protect them from fire and cattle and allow ecological succession to happen, (2)Restore forest corridor between the misty mountain forest in Abongphen (Kedjom-Keku) and two nearest widespread fragments of the Kilum-Ijum cloud forest in Oku (5km away) and the Kom-Wum lowland forest (10km away from Abongphen), (3) Join forces with 25 members of the local community, who we will employ for the next five years to aid in planting a million trees, (4) teach community members beekeeping, agroforestry and vertical farming techniques for them to manufacture their own agricultural products.
The Cameroonian branch of our Czech organization called Kedjom-Keku CASUD located in the Abongphen Highland Forest of Kedjom-Keku at the Bamenda Highlands which is responsible for achieving the above goals has been greatly affected by the ongoing Anglophone crisis and the just-ended presidential election. Though the election is ended, tension still hovers over Cameroon and most especially in the English speaking regions. The Anglophone crisis which is now ravaging the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon was moved from bad to worse in September and October 2018 as Cameroonians prepared to go to the polls to elect a new president.
This event together with the crisis brought more tension, especially in the English speaking parts. Bridges linking communities in the northwest region most especially were cut, major roads leading to communities were blocked, and gunshots became frequent. All this caused the population to flee to nearby forest to seek for refuge while other in major cities remain indoors. During this period movement was and is still greatly being reduced.
The northwest region which happens to host our conservation program was and is still being put under a strict curfew by the government. The population can only move from 6 am to 6 pm after which any person seen on the street is either arrested or shot by the military. All these actions send out waves of fear and tension across the northwest region.
With all the fear and tension in the region, our conservation activities are greatly being slowed down from the closure of our misty forest school for about 2 years now to frequent threats to staff working on the beekeeping project on the misty forest. As a result of all these security.