YAOUNDE, Nov. 18 Xinhua | The Cameroonian government on Monday castigated U.S. President Donald Trump for disregarding “heinous acts” perpetrated by armed separatists in the English-speaking regions of the country.
In a letter to the U.S. Congress on Oct. 31, Trump said he will soon exclude Cameroon from the trade benefits of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), citing “persistent gross violations of internationally recognized human rights … including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary and unlawful detention and torture” by Cameroonian soldiers in the Anglophone part of the country.
“The government of Cameroon cannot hide its astonishment at the absence … of any reference to, or even condemnation of the countless and unspeakable atrocities perpetrated by the armed bands of secessionists in the Northwest and the Southwest (the two English-speaking regions),” Cameroon’s government spokesman Emmanuel Rene Sadi told a press conference here late Monday.
“The incrimination, even the stigmatization of our Defence and Security Forces, are all the more incomprehensible because, in addition to protecting the citizens, they are involved in many civilian-military actions for the benefit of the populations in the regions concerned,” Sadi added.
Armed separatists seeking independence of the two Anglophone regions in Cameroon have been clashing with government forces since 2017.
The United Nations estimates that more than 530,000 people have been displaced internally by the conflict.
The AGOA allows member countries to sell goods to the United States on a duty-free basis. In 2018, 2.68 percent of Cameroon products were sold to the United States, according to Cameroon’s Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Mines.