Armed conflict fuels rising number of widows in Cameroon

Cameroonian Minister for the Empowerment of Women and the Family, Marie-Thérèse Abena Ondoa, said on Wednesday that deaths from armed conflict have contributed to a significant increase in the number of widows in the central African country.

FILE PHOTO: Soldiers patrol in Bafut, in the English-speaking region of northwest Cameroon. (Photo credit – / AFP via Getty Images)

A separatist conflict in the English-speaking regions of the country and the insurgency of the terrorist group Boko Haram in the Far North region have increased the number of widows from around 600,000 in 2018 to 1.5 million, according to statistics government.

Widows suffered from crushing poverty and persecution, the minister said at a press conference to launch week-long activities to mark International Widows Day.

“It is important that all stakeholders come together to mobilize the community to defend the rights of widows. The ministry will continue to educate widows on their rights, to create income-generating activities for them and to help them survive legally and psychologically, ”she added.

The United Nations International Widows Day, commemorated annually on June 23, aims to draw attention to the voices of widows.