Campaign of terror against herders

January 6, 2003

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The Mbororo cattle herders of Cameroon's Northwest Province are suffering a campaign of terror master-minded by one unscrupulous individual using government agents and structures to dominate and rob them of their pasture land.

At present, four Mbororo men are in prison and face trial by a military tribunal on 9 January. The Provincial President of the Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association MBOSCUDA is also in prison. Another man is recovering from a near-fatal assault. This is only the latest instalment in a long story of harassment, rapes, arbitrary imprisonment and assassination.

The man behind this is Alhadji Baba Ahmadou Danpullo, multi-millionaire rancher, international businessman with interests in South Africa, Europe and the USA, and prominent member of Cameroon's ruling party. He is already the biggest landowner after the government in the Northwest Province, and has been harassing the Mbororo for 16 years. One of the men, Ousman Haman, was arrested while filming a disputed piece of grazing land, and witnesses say he was taken to one of Alhadji Baba's ranches, where he was flogged as Alhadji Baba watched.

A member of MBOSCUDA writes: 'He has seized Mbororo grazing land. He has seized cattle, sheep, goats and horses… He kidnapped Mbororo girls, got married to them with force. He uses the gendarmes to arrest, detain and torture the Mbororo who show any resistance against him.'

Another Mbororo leader says 'Everything in this matter is illegal and the Local Administration is behind him. He uses dirty money to corrupt all of them and they do just what he wishes. He has sworn that he is going to exterminate us.'

Cameroon's main opposition party has filed a motion condemning this 'untouchable citizen', but the government has not taken action.

Survival has protested to President Biya of Cameroon.