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Rev Fr Njokikang Paul Fru of Caritas Bamenda

Cameroon: Director of Caritas arrested

Independent Catholic News | As the Anglophone uprising in Cameroon enters its fourth year, the Caritas Director, Father Paul Njokikang, has been arrested. His detention has been condemned by Lord Alton as a further assault on moderate voices within Anglophone civil society.

In May, Father Paul testified at the United Nations (video below) about the deteriorating situation in the mainly English-speaking North West and South West regions of Cameroon. Conflict is escalating between Anglophone Cameroonians, who make up a fifth of the country’s twenty-four million population, and the Francophone government of President Paul Biya. More than 300 Anglophone activists remain in prison, some serving life sentences for calling for greater autonomy or independence for their region.

The UN estimates that 530,000 people, more than 10% of the Anglophone population, have been forced from their homes in the violence. More than 30,000 have fled to neighbouring Nigeria, while as many as 3,000 are believed to have been killed. Impartial human rights organisations have condemned the disproportionate force used by the Cameroon armed forces against peaceful unarmed civilians.

The crackdown has driven some Anglophones to support secession from Cameroon, creating an independent nation called Ambazonia. Extremists, called Amba Boys, have demanded school closures and have intimidated civilians who resist their call for strikes. Hospitals, schools and businesses have been burned down. As a result, hundreds of thousands of children have been unable to attend schools for years.

Father Paul told the UN that the pro-independence fighters have made life intolerable for civilians, while humanitarian aid agencies are unable to reach those in need. He described kidnapping and devastation by the Amba Boys, as well as ferocious revenge attacks by the Cameroonian armed forces.

“A military solution has never been a solution,” he told UN delegates. “Dialogue is the solution.” He called on the UN to demand a ceasefire and genuine negotiations, including demilitarising the region, and scaling up humanitarian assistance. “We are sandwiched between the security forces and the Amba Boys,” he explained. However, despite Father Paul’s moderate stance, he was arrested after Mass on Sunday.

President Paul Biya’s government recently held a national dialogue conference, but many English-speaking activists were excluded. They have denounced the process as a sham, aimed at pacifying the international community, rather than addressing long-standing Anglophone grievances. The uprising began with peaceful demonstrations when the Francophone government forced French-speaking teachers and judges on schools and courts in the Anglophone region.

Lord Alton commented: “Father Paul represents a moderate Anglophone voice in an increasingly polarised conflict. The international community must demand his unconditional release. There can be no constructive dialogue while the Biya regime undermines the work of impartial charities. The UK should use its influence at the UN and in the Commonwealth to press the Cameroon authorities to hold genuine and inclusive negotiations.”

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12 comments

  1. A fool does not know when to stop laughing! Arresting and detaining people does not make the problem go away. The international nose gets tighter around your neck. Remember what happened to you in Geneva? Kicked out like a dog in the middle of the night. biya your time has come and gone. You are laughing stock; even worse than Mugabe. Sad

  2. The so-called Major National Dialogue was a sham, a sheer waste of precious time, energy and taxpayers money.
    That farce has even made the situation worse:

    1. the war has intensified
    2. the international community have FINALLY realised that Dictator Biya had deceived them. That is the reason they have intensified the calls for a GENUINE and INCLUSIVE dialogue.

    LRC can continue to arrest and detain Southern Cameroonians. They can continue to massacre innocent civilians. They can continue to shout VIVRE-ENSEMBLE.
    However, one thing is 100% certain:

    the FINAL SOLUTION to the Anglophone Question will be gotten this time around come rain come shine. There is absolutely nothing Dictator Biya can do to prevent the TOTAL, COMPLETE, IRREVERSIBLE and UNCONDITIONAL resolution.

    • As a reminder, there are only 2 (two) options to resolve the impasse:

      Option #1: a federation of TWO states EQUAL IN STATUS ( cf. UNGA Resolution 1608 )

      Simply put, a federation of 3, 4, 10 or 99 states is NOT a solution to the Anglophone
      Question. This school of thought is also true for the so-called “Special status”.

      Option #2: SEPARATION

      If Dictator Biya cannot live with option #1, the only logical alternative is the separation of the INFORMAL VIVRE-ENSEMBLE into two independent states, namely:

      * one and indivisible SC
      * one and indivisible LRC

      THERE IS ZERO THIRD OPTION. Simply put, LRC terrorists can NEVER EVER defeat the ” secessionists”.

    • Dictator Biya has vowed that elections MUST take place in LRC and SC in February 2020 “KOMME WAS WOLLE”

      Permit me to state without fear of contradiction that there will be ZERO elections in SC until the Anglophone Question is resolved. Amba boys have now upgraded their weaponry. They have been instructed to neutralise any ELECAM member who dares to set his feet in SC.

      It is now abundantly clear to all and sundry that the so-called 30 Amba Generals who surrendered weapons were all FAKE. GENUINE Generals do not surrender weapons WITHOUT their troops. Ex-convict Atanga Nji was simply taking citizens of LRC for a ride with his dirty tricks.

      GENUINE Amba boys will NEVER disarm. They have vowed to fight until the last man standing.

      DICTATOR BIYA’S WAR WILL RESOLVE THE ANGLOPHONE QUESTION!!!

  3. Upon taking over from first president, Ahmadou Ahidjo, Paul Biya mounted the rostrum and announced to the nation and the world:

    “La verite vient d’en haut “(truth comes from above).
    And so, from above he completely dispensed with arrest warrants, probable cause and all those niceties that accompany Democratic rule.
    Is there any wonder today that everybody – police, Gendarme, barons, armed robbers – can arrest and extort from whomever they choose?

  4. We will never yield

  5. Now, this same international community, praised Biya and his cpdm meeting, that
    some have rightly, called DIELOG. Even the respected Cardinal, praised the dielog
    on TV, just like Biya announcing his war. Britain, should stop hiding behind Brexit,
    come out, and talk rightly and strongly, to the attrocities of Biya / France against the
    people of SC. it is gone out of hand for too long and Biya / France, are busy enjoying it.
    As for the corrupt UN, shame will hount them.

  6. The army has killed so many Anglophones and wants to.run away from their crimes.This Rev.Father is a man of truth and he has stood firm on the fact that the army has committed many atrocities.That is why he has been arrested.Cameroon is a country rulled by a monster called Paul Biya.

  7. No surprises here.
    Feathers of the same kind flock together.

  8. Has that corrupt UN, done anything? Just asking, because Biya, is bigger than it,
    because of mighty France.

  9. No, if the frontline leaders had dared fumbled to rush to Yaounde, because Biya / Dion
    Ngute assured their security during the dielog, they would not have been arested. It
    is by error, that they arrested Paddy Asanga, who was invited by the infamous republicans
    of cameroon.
    What a shame to a man, who had 39 years of good life from the same people he is destroying
    now.

  10. Let Paul arrest all anglophones and jail them or if possible kill all of them while the UN watches ….

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