Anglophone crisis in Cameroon threatens to escalate despite recent peace talks

New Delhi Times | Cameroon has been engulfed in a separatist crisis since 2017. The North-West and South-West regions of the country complain that they have been deliberately marginalised by the government in Yaounde. The separatist crisis began in 2016 when English-speaking teachers and lawyers organized protests against what they called the marginalization of English in the majority French-speaking nation. The strike was organized by the Anglophone civil society organizations who believed that a complete overhaul of the administrative departments in the country and an inclusive Federal Constitution can end the long-standing discrimination faced by the Anglophones in the country.

The Cameroon government dealt the strike with an iron hand. The military responded with a crackdown. The government’s response to the protesters involved coercive tactics, including the arrests of prominent Anglophone leaders, who were detained under the country’s Anti-Terrorism Law. Rebel groups seeking an end to what they consider domination of the Anglophone south by the Francophone north started taking up weapons against the government’s security forces. On October 1, 2017, separatists declared an independent state called the ‘Republic of Ambazonia’.

The separatists are structured around two main political bodies-the Interim Government of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia (IG) and the Ambazonia Governing Council (AGC). Linked to these political parties are more than 20 armed groups. The most active armed groups are the Southern Cameroons Defence Forces and the Ambazonia Defence Forces (ADF).
The ADF is the military arm of the AGC. In addition, there are numerous local cells with hundreds of fighters, not only from Cameroon but also Nigeria. Other groups include the Ambazonia Restoration Army in Belo/Boyo, the Nso Liberation Army in Bui, the Tigers of Manyu in Manyu Division, and the Red Dragons of Lebialem Defence Force in the locality of Lebialiem.

According to the International Crisis Group, the armed separatist groups have between 2,000 and 4,000 fighters. The main separatist leaders are Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, who is currently facing a life sentence on terrorism and secession charges, and Samuel Ikome Sako, who claims to be the interim President of the unrecognized Federal Republic of Ambazonia. He was named the interim President after Sisuku Ayuk Tabe, the first President, was arrested in Nigeria and extradited to Cameroon in January 2018. Samuel Ikome Sako was unilaterally dismissed by Julius Ayuk Tabe in May 2019, a decision he refused to recognize. This triggered the Ambazonian leadership crisis and has increasingly led to clashes among the rival groups in Cameroon. The North-West and South-West regions have been subject to a resurgence of attacks against persons, their properties and public infrastructure, including health centres and schools, along with continuing incidents against humanitarian workers and medical personnel.

The separatist crisis in Cameroon has resulted in a catastrophic humanitarian situation in the country. According to reliefweb, “Almost 680,000 Cameroonian are now internally displaced due to this crisis mainly in the North West and South West regions, but also in the West and Littoral. An additional 58,000 persons have sought refuge in neighbouring Nigeria. The displaced communities have acute needs for protection, food, shelter, non-food items (NFI), water and sanitation as well as access to health and education. Persons who could not flee the violence, most notably older persons and persons with disabilities are at heightened risk of attacks and sexual violence”. The presence of both state security forces and non-state armed groups challenges the humanitarian space throughout these regions by imposing roadblocks, demanding exchanges for relief, and confiscating aid. Continued violence, poor roads, and lockdowns restrict the movement of people in the Anglophone regions.

On May 6, 2019, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said that there was still a window of opportunity to end the crisis. “I believe there is a clear-if possibly short-window of opportunity to arrest the crises that have led to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people, as well as the killings and brutal human rights violations and abuses that have affected the northern and western areas of the country,” she said in a statement.

In 2019, Switzerland mediated talks between the government and exiled separatist leaders but those talks did not produce any significant results. The Swiss mediation was refused by Cameroon President Paul Biya.

The Swiss diplomats were asked by some top Cameroonian officials not to interfere into their internal affairs. Some media outlets were overtly critical of Swiss mediation. Some separatist leaders also took to their Facebook pages to condemn the Swiss government for going through the wrong persons to dialogue.

On July 3, 2020, the government officials in Cameroon held talks with leaders of the Ambazonia separatist movement, including Sisiku Ayuk Tabe who is currently serving a life sentence. Tabe took on Twitter to announce that he and his “Cabinet” met with authorities of the Yaounde regime so as to “initiate a ceasefire following the UN’s call”. “Be reassured that we remain committed to the restoration of the independence of homeland,” Sisiku added. The Cameroon government is yet to react to the announcement.

The talks were the first of its kind since an armed separatist conflict broke out in the English-speaking regions of North-West and South-West. However, security analysts contend that conflict in Cameroon will aggravate due to the demands of the separatists that are incompatible with the government’s position. Moreover, the competing claims of leadership among the separatists will also hamper efforts towards an inclusive peace process.

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32 comments

  1. Julius Ayuk Tabe, is merely fighting for his release from jail and not the restoration of
    the state of Ambazonia. Make no mistate, the french did not conceive his life jail term,
    for nothing. He has now become a porn rather than a freedom fighter. Julius Ayuk,
    is betraying the revolution from jail. Was he alone in this struggle from the start? What
    force, does he control on the ground? He has now succeeded, in forming a Manyu faction
    of the struggle, who now support him so he can be released. Then, what about others
    in jails etc?

    • This foolish @Joshua idiot again! What force does Sako the grandfather of all thieves control on the ground? You all confused badtartds with your stupidity called government have Cho Ayaba the ever steady, focused and no nonsense revolutionary leader to thank. Idiot. Everything Biya is doing n the dark with Ayuk Tabe is a pretext to get close to the AGovC and it will never happen. Let LRC pack up and leave Ambazonia. @Joshua go and tell Sako the erstwhile YCPDM section president still working for Mafani Mussonge.

      • L’enemir,

        Nothing gives me pleasure than to see you bring your inter-Amba civil war to a Cameroonian forum. Kikikikikikikikiki

        Are you talking of that same Cho Ayaba who went to sell Cameroonian oil to someone in London despite having rubber guns for weapons? The same Cho who does not have the balls to go lead his soldiers on the battlefield?

        Whatever they give you people in that cult will come out one day.

        Signed,
        anti-regime/anti-amba blackleg

        • Take your pills before you start getting hallucinations you this wowor short Bameta disease @BrothaJosephus.

          Dr Ayaba Cho Lucas remains Yaoundé nightmare and so shall it remain. Hope you counted the 6 BIRs that slept in Bamenda early today. We will bleed out and extinguish these occupiers.

          Ambazonia is for Ambazonians muthafoka.

      • Ambazonia has not gotten indepedence yet and you already have about 5 presidents with confused followers. that nonsense will end on facebook. You go and raise about $20000 through your armchair socialist and buy dane guns to fight a well equipped military. you must be crazy.

  2. What is surprising is that those in the diaspora encouraging youths to take up arms against a superior opponent seem to be shocked at the level of force used by younde to keep the situation under thier control. This simply reveal thier level of naivety, lack of rational calculated thinking base on power balance .Had they thought about younde,s reaction they certainly would not have made the tragic strategic mistake of trying to use force against a superior opponent because failure was easy to see. They keep saying younde, s soldiers are killing our people. Again did they think about this eventuality?if you can’t even anticipate the action and reactions of an enemy.of what good is it to dream of victory when you don’t know what they have in stock for you?

  3. Thank God, Dictator Biya’s UNWINNABLE, UNSTOPPABLE and financially UNSUSTAINABLE war will rescue the Anglophones from that sh*thole VIVRE-ENSEMBLE with LRC.

    GOD IS INDEED GREAT

    • **** BIO DATA ****

      “Dr.” Samuel Ikome Sako is my tribesman.

      I know him very well and can therefore state here without fear f contradiction that he is an agent of LRC receiving orders directly from Musonge and by extension LRC. He is a renowned conman who duped people in Victoria of their hard earned money before escaping to the US.
      He is neither a Ph.D holder nor a trained pastor.
      Gullble supporters of the so-called “H.E. Dr.” Sako should understand that “Errare humanum est, sed in errare perseverare diabolicum.” = “To err is human, but to persist in error (out of pride) is diabolical.”.

  4. Where are all those borrowed milanmi who were supporting the devil’s regime? They saying LRC Will crush NOSO in one year time. Let me laugh a bit. Bah Achu, if you don’t any concrete thing to say. Just close your smelling mouth and shut up.

  5. @ Joshua and L’enemir. You guys are the most stupid Africans still existing. Learn from Bah Acho. I have said many times and I will repeat it today. The people of the SW and NW can never ever live together as one nation for they hate each other. Both of you guys just proved it and the UN knows about it. The UN will never ever accept what is happening in Southern Sudan or what happened in Rwanda to happen again in Africa.

  6. @joshua You this moron….Tell,Sako the embezzler who loves Ambasonia so much to leave his family and all the confort he is enjoying in Maryland and come and stay in prison for SC’s cause.Any political leader in jail is free to negotiate his release from jail,if he want to.Agbor Balla did,after staying in jail for 7 months.Sisiku is free to negotiate his release from jail if he want to.It is not Sako,the con man and embezzler who is suppose to negotiate the freedom of a political leader in jail.If Sisiku want to come out of jail,he knows what to do.He is even kind.If i were him,i would have negotiated my release long ago,like Agbor Balla did,because all of u out there are very ungrateful.Sako is the one who took our MTTB money and started politicizing fighters.He has seen nothing yet.

  7. @joshua Did i here u say what about others in jail if Sisiku comes out?Those thieves in Maryland think they were smart.Their intentions was to dissolve Sisiku’s IG,so that they can go and sell SC on a platter of gold in Swiss, while Sisiku and the rest stay as ransom in LRC’s jail.Their plans have failed.Even the fighters on ground did not know their plans.If Sako is truely fighting for the independence of SC,he would back the four points that Sisiku raised and advocate for the release of all Ambasonian prisoners first,including Ssisiku whom he perceived as his rival, before any negotiations.But since he is a con man and an impostor, he preffers to go to Swiss while Ambasonian prisoners remain in jail.All must be release from jail before any negotiations.Let Sako get that into his head.

  8. joshua ”Sisiku has now succeeded, in forming a Manyu faction of the struggle, who now support him so he can be release.”Let me remind u,Sako is the one who started factionalism.He abandonned Sisiku’s IG and form his own faction of the IG.He even abandonned the SCBC TV that started the revolution,to create the ABC Social media TV after embezzling MTTB money.He refused to consult Sisiku in jail on any issue and claim he could do it alone.He banned ADF from fighting on ground and say all the forces on ground must be under his IG.He impeached Sisiku.If u know the destruction that Sako has caused in this revolution,u would not even mention his name here.If he was the one in jail,he would have collected money from LRC ever since.He is very corrupt.Don’t even talk about him here.

  9. I know, that you young people, forget so easily. Sissiku ran away to Nigeria, because it is alleged,
    that he stole. When this Ambazonia think came up, the con man, like a cameleon, became president.
    At that time, folks were very will. They pumped in much money, believing this con man was going
    to do wonders, even more than Napoleon. He had free money, to fly north south east and west,
    doing his con business. Today, he has never accounted to anyone, how he spent their money. His
    supporters, see his conness, only in Sako. Women, contributed their hard earned money, and gave
    to madam de Sissiku. Like husband like wife, she has covered that and sat quiet, looking for pity,
    from ignorant folks. Now, he has the opportunity, to sell a whole people – Ambazonians to lrc and
    France, for free.

  10. @joshua There is nothing like two IG in a revolution.One is fake and one is the true IG that is there to represent the people’s aspirations.Remember,even in Cameroon,the used to be two UPC party.One of Frederick Kodock and that of Henri Hogbe Nlend.One was the true opposition and the other was in alliance with the governlent.I am not here to debate on an imaginary money that Sisiku stole while doing his diplomacy.He even knocked the doors of the queen of England which Sako have never done for more than two years.If Sako wanted to form his own organisarion,he should have used a different name,not IG.IG is Sisiku’s brand.
    All we are asking is for everybody to be released before any negotiations.Is that too much to ask from people who claimed to be fighting for Ambasonia?

    • Are you saying Sissiku, is live president? Something he himself, has challenged in
      Biya?

  11. OH MY GOD, L’enemir, unstoppable, kongosa man and Joshua are you kidding me? God forbid the SW and NW from ever being handed to these so-called Ambazonia fools. The Tutsi and Hutu war in Rwanda will be nothing. The world will experience the worst bloodshed mankind can deliver. I will say it again, the NW and SW people hate each other with passion. They can never ever form a country together and thank god the UN knows it and will never allow it.

    • Yes bobjazz, but you have to kill the animal, before you divide it. The NW people, always,
      think it should be them. The Banyangis, have also followed suit in this revolution. If it is
      not them, the good thing, is that it should fail or spoil.

      • Idiot for life @Joshua. Since your IG was founded has NW people been conning anyone as president? Your mami Pima so. There’s nothing worst than trying to free idiots. Read the post of @UNSTOPPABLE above. Foolish tribalist. What the hell is so wrong in Sisiku’s 4 points? What diplomacy has Sako ever taken instead of duping people through his mouthpiece Devil Chris Anu? You all don’t deserve freedom.

    • BobicrazeJazz

      You and Sako are the same.
      Products of the Beti devils. While you were of their semen, he’s burying his short dick in a bikutsi dancer at night and claiming to fight independence by the day. How paradoxical can it get? Only dullards like @Joshua will still believe in this conman. Thank God for Dr Ayaba Cho Lucas the leveller of the Biya empire mountains of corruption, deceit and voodoo.

      • Hahaha @ L’enemir. You just proof say you be small boy. Work hard and get matured.

  12. @joshua Sako has no strategy to win this revolution,and u know it.He just want to be out there,collecting money from people in the name of fighting for SC.Last time, he asked money from people,that he want to take LRC to ICJ.What a joke..As who?When we say u people supporting Sako are LRC’s agent.u will say we are lying. Why do u people keep bringing tribal rhetoric in our revolution? When i condemn Sako i did not mention his tribe.Why do u keep mentioning ” Bayangi people” when u want to condemn Sisiku?Nkongho Success was not in jail when he was compromised.Sako do not need to be in jail to have been compromised.
    As at now,Sisiku has the best and the only strategy to win this revolution.The fact that he is in jail is an advantage for us to win.All we need do is to stand by him.

  13. @joshua ”Are you saying Sissiku, is live president? Something he himself, has challenged in
    Biya?”..No,Sisiku is not live president,it is Sako that is live president in his IG.Even after embezzling MTTB funds he could not resign.Sako is the one that is live president in his IG,not Sisiku…ANUOFIA..Let me tell u, as a political leader in the Kenyan independence movement,Jomo Kenyatta did not fight from abroad.He started fighting from outside and continued his fight while in jail.As a matter of fact,he spent six years in jail before he was released as Kenya won their war of independence.So,for some of u,this Sako followers who think that Sisiku must come out of jail before he engages again in the fight for independence,i have news for u,go and read your history books.

  14. @joshua Even after the financial scandal,members in Sako’s imaginary IG could not impeach him.They only know how to impeach a prisoner who is not a member of their IG.What a shame..It just tells us that Sako is live president in his IG..Something he himself have challenged in Sisiku…..

    • Your Sissiku, should work for his release, not to sell the Ambazonians for
      30 pieces of silver and position in lrc gov`t, sir. Learn to figure out and accept
      the truth. His case, is not the first in the history of the world.Sako stole your
      money and is still alive. Take him to court, period. That, is your own way of
      contribution to the progress of the revolution and not empty talk. Sako stole
      how much of the MTTB money? Come out plain.
      Only idiots, know that Sissiku, can free Ambazonia at this time.

  15. @joshua ”Only idiots, know that Sissiku, can free Ambazonia at this time.”……I understand your frustration..We will defeat the occupier internally and externally no matter how hard they try to divide us and no matter how difficult the struggle maybe….
    ”Your Sissiku, should work for his release, not to sell the Ambazonians for
    30 pieces of silver and position in lrc gov`t, sir.”…….Wow,tell your Sako to work for his imprisonment in LRC,rather than staying outside and be collecting money from people in the name of fighting for independence…
    Let Sako come to jail,so that another person will stay outside and be collecting money from people in the name of fighting for independence….Anuofia…

  16. A president and his cabinet are arrested and are serviving live sentences in jail.
    This is not only ridiculous, but extremely shameful. Like i have said above, only
    idiots { sheep} see in them good leadership. How can this kind of cabinet, free
    a people and run a country well?
    In the con man Sissiku, we should see another Judas in modern times. How, does
    this judas, `initiate a cease fire and then restore independence of homeland`in jail?
    Once again, this is idiotic, please.

  17. @joshua ”A president and his cabinet are arrested and are serviving live sentences in jail.”….Of course,the president has his V.P,Yerima out of jail,he has his spokes man,Milton Taka,out of jail,there are other members of his cabinet that are out there in S.A like Prof Carlson Anyangwe e.t.c.Let me remind u,those fighters are not fighting for Sako’s IG nor Sisiku’s IG.They are fighting for Ambasonia,the flag. It is becos Sako tried to made them his fighters,thats why they no longer know him.More over,Sako have chopped all the money meant for the fighters,how can they fight for him again?They are self defense forces fighting for independence.They are not Sako’s forces nor Sisiku’s forces.They are fighting for Ambasonia.

    • Those Sako has fired, become the outside cabinet of live president Sissiku.
      This again, is not only ridiculous, but shameful, please. Think, before you
      leap, boy. Remember, that Sissiku was also fired. This guy, was too overzealous
      when he saw free money etc, and so he fell in a common trap in Nera hotel and
      today, he and you, are looking on where to place to blame. The roasted fish he had
      ordered feast on for free, never got eaten until today. The power of blood money.

  18. @Joshua ”How, does this judas, `initiate a cease fire and then restore independence of homeland`in jail?
    Once again, this is idiotic, please.”..Ha ha ha..It is becos Sako is not fighting for independence,thats why he thinks they should come and see him,that he can called for a ”ceasefire”..Unfortunately,ceasefire is not what we need,we need but independence.It is Biya that will withdraw his military from our towns.And then release everybody that has been arrested as Sisiku stated in his four points..I did not know that Sako,who did not declare war,and who is not a general on ground was hoping to called for a ceasefire on forces he does not have control over.Is that how he was hoping to have independence? .ha ha ha…Sako’s scamming has been taken to another level…

  19. @joshua People fighting for independence will never claim that they have the power to called for ceasefire on ground.Becos they are not sure they have control over all the forces on ground-Reason why the wise thing to do is to ask Biya to withdraw his troops from Ambasonia aénd release everybody that have been arrested before any negotiation…Sisiku is very intelligent and has a good strategy.Sako is a scammer,claiming he can called for a ceasefire.That they should come and see him…

  20. @joshua Let me educate u again.Those boys fighting on ground are self defense forces…A war was declared on them,and they are defending themselves..Sako cannot,in logical sense say that he has the powers to called for cease fire if he is not a scammer…Sisiku have not told the gov’t that he has the power to called for ceasfire..All he is saying is that Y’de should withdraw their troops instead,supervised by the United Nations and release everybody that have been arrested before negotiatations..In a neutral territory…He has not even chose any place,becos the place for negotiations is open for debate by SCnians..But scammers Sako had chosen Swiss already and are forcing everybody to abide by it or else………..The enemy have failed…

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