Female farmers stage anti-rape protest in northwest Cameroon

WUM, CAMEROON (BNO NEWS) -- Thousands of women have staged a rally in northwestern Cameroon to protest a spate of rapes and assaults against female farmers, the BBC reported on Thursday.

The women are refusing to work on farms in the country's Wum district after a string of sexual attacks which were blamed on cattle herders. They said young girls are among the victims and one woman died of her wounds on Monday night.

A large group of women have been protesting outside the palace of a powerful chief for five days to demand greater protection. The area is affected by land disputes between members of the Aghem and Akuh ethnic groups, according to the BBC.

Government officials in Wum called a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the problem between the women from the Aghem ethnic group and leaders of the Akuh group, to which the herdsmen belong. However, some of the women walked out of the meeting, saying no clear solution had been found to end the attacks.

In a 2009 survey by the Inter Press Service news agency, 20 percent of women in Cameroon reported to have been raped at one point in their lives. Another 14 percent said they had escaped a rape attempt.

The crime of rape is punishable by life in prison in Cameroon. However, despite these laws, few perpetrators of rape are ever prosecuted.

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