US-Backed Forces in Cameroon Displace Thousands of Innocent People

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

The Rapid Intervention Battalion, a US-backed force of elite soldiers conventionally known as the BIR, consistently attacks villages in the English-speaking provinces of Cameroon, displacing more than a half million citizens and drawing about 10,000 refugees to the US border with Mexico. The United States has instructed and worked closely with the BIR since at least 2010.

The soldiers of the BIR have burned down entire villages and subjected civilians to arbitrary detention, torture, indiscriminate killings, Joe Penney reported for the Intercept.

To escape this brutality, many Cameroonians fly to Ecuador and then migrate north to Mexico, a journey that brings with it discrimination, risk, and hardship. Mexico, because of its relationship to US foreign policy, prohibits Cameroonian refugees from entering the United States, keeping these victims detained in towns where they live in communities of tents without proper access to food or sanitation.

The BIR has frequently attacked English-speaking citizens of the province of Cameroon since the province began peaceful protests against the Francophone regime governing the nation.  The US has maintained contact and funding to the BIR since these attacks began.

The corporate news media has given very little coverage of this topic. The New York Times and The Hill have made mention of the situation. The Intercept covered the subject comprehensively, citing all evidence empirically with impressive investigative inquiry. The same reporter, Joe Penney, also wrote about this issue for The Nation, citing deaths of refugees at the US-Mexico border, and Ed Vulliamy wrote of the situation for The Guardian, both in February 2020.

Source:​ Joe Penney, “Cameroonian Asylum-Seekers at the Border are Fleeing a U.S.-Backed Military Force,” The Intercept​​, December 1, 2019,   

Student Researcher: Aiden Guzman ​ (​ Diablo Valley College)​

Faculty Evaluator: Mickey Huff (Diablo Valley College)​