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Cameroon Women Rally Demanding End to Violence

BAMENDA, CAMEROON — ReliefWeb | Hundreds of women gathered on the streets of Bamenda, an English-speaking town in northwestern Cameroon, to protest the violence afflicting their communities. In an emotionally charged event Friday, they called on the government and armed separatists to lay down their guns and engage in meaningful dialogue for peace.

Thirty-seven-year old Etta Ernestine cried as she told the crowd of women gathered that she lost her husband in the war in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon two weeks ago and does not know how she will be able to bring up their three children. She said she has seen students, farmers, civil servants and cattle ranchers killed.

Distraught, many of the women at the protest were crying, saying that it was time for a dialogue to be held to put an end to the bloodshed.

Among them was 42-year old Camela Itoh who said she wanted the world to know she has lost her only baby and husband, and that her residence was torched by either the military or armed fighters three months ago in the northwestern town of Mbengui. She begged for the carnage to stop.

“Let’s not destroy what we cannot produce nor make. Children cannot even go to school. Daddy, have mercy on your people,” she pleaded, in an apparent reference to God.

In November 2017, President Paul Biya declared war on people he called secessionists after armed men attacked and killed policemen and soldiers in English-speaking southwestern Cameroon.

Cameroon’s government reports that about 300 civilians and more than a hundred soldiers and policemen have been killed since then. At least 130 schools have been torched and a hundred villages razed.

‘We are wailing’

Pamela Mundi came out to ask for peace to return because she lost her parents in the conflict in January in the southwestern town of Lebialem. She said both government forces and armed separatists have been committing atrocities and should drop their guns to allow for peace to return.

“We are wailing to cleanse our land. We are wailing for the children who have died in the bushes. We are wailing for our husbands who are in the military. We are wailing for everyone who has died,” Mundi said.

Cameroon communication minister and government spokesperson Issa Tchiroma says the government cannot withdraw its troops that are legitimately defending the population from armed separatist attacks. He says President Biya will never tolerate lawlessness even though he agrees with the women that dialogue should continue as a solution to the crisis in the restive areas of Cameroon.

“The head of state has never and can never remain dormant to any claim expressed by his fellow compatriots. It should be noted that in the management of this situation, the security forces were effectively deployed with the constant aim of restoring peace and order,” Tchiroma said.

Unrest began in Cameroon in November 2016 when English-speaking teachers and lawyers in the northwest and southwest called for reforms and greater autonomy. They marched in the streets, criticizing what they called the marginalization of English speakers by French speakers. Separatists took over the protests and demanded independence for the English-speaking regions from the French-speaking regions of the country.

In June, rights group Amnesty International accused both the Cameroon military and separatists fighting for the independence of using unnecessary and excessive force. The rights group said civilians are frequently caught up in the violence.

The United Nations reports that hundreds of thousands of people have fled for their lives to the bushes and towns in the French-speaking regions. At least 20,000 have crossed over into Nigeria.

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  1. The logic and therefore truth, is that Amba fighters can only down their weapons
    when the invading lrc terrorist, withdraw.
    Self defence, is what Amba boys are engaged in for their fatherland and inheritance.
    Let`s bear with them. Papa`s land, can not be stollen away, by armed robbers in
    miltary gears etc. Not biya or france, has that right.

  2. How does a gov`t, restore peace and order by sending the military who in turn,
    are shooting anyone on sight and males 13 years and above? They are looting,
    raping, burning whole villages etc etc etc.
    The minister of communication, though a muslim, is drunk and confused so much
    that he can tell tons of lies, like a tillapia. He needs christian deliverance.

  3. this situation has revealed the greatest weakness of the british system of education often projected naively on this forum by some as the ideal system of education,lack of strategic thinking.it is often said that people are products of thier education,and it is even more in this case.
    when those who pushed our youths to take arms against younde with superior training and military equipement were doing it.did they think ahead of time about what the reaction of younde will be?and ,not only stopping there but finding a counter solution to younde,s reaction?for example if they use russian war hilicopters,and dronnes to spy and bomb our position.we shall react with american s5 fighter jets attacking thiers,or deploying the russian s4 anti missile defense system.

    • this is a small example of what thinking strategically is about.it is in this pragmatic detail calculations that all conflicts are won or lost.once a nation make this calculations taking into consideration the opponents force and weaknesses,decisions are then taken by confronting your force and weakness with that of the enemy.if you are in a weaker position without possibility of final victory.a decesion is taken rationally not to attack the enemy behaving as if nothing is wrong while reinforcing the elements that will give you victory.this is why there is a say that war is often won before field battles by intelligent nations.not attacking police stations without thinking about the consequences and when they retaliate killing civilians indiscriminately.you complain,this is childish.

      • if we take into consideration the above argument,what can we say about the level of intelligences of our aleads,who are products of the so called anglophone system of education?what can we say about what result from thier thinking?

        • So till now, you haven’t yet understood the ambazonian independence strategy? Well, let me update you on it. Their strategy is simple: death as much as possible. They are hoping for more deaths so that they can justify and legitimise the genocide they have been crying about since the start of this crisis, and hence a possible foreign intervention. It is vile and demonic and it is bound to fail.

    • This is a shameful writing from somebody called a cameroonian..This conflict in Southern Cameroon, has nothing to do with the education ..Its very shameful and a big disgrace to look at such a problem form the British system of education..
      If you are a cameroonian, an honest man which I doubt you are, you will see that this problem is more a political one that needs immediate solution..
      You cant talk of this problem today without using such words like:
      Marginalization, segregation and political manipulation of the southern Cameroons..
      I have realized and follow up your comments and unfortunately have never seen you complain about the system of government we have in Cameroon today..A country where everything is sold to France and china, youths have no future, leader is old and have no plan.

      • BIKO …..from my angle of view,it is childish to keep complaining about the current system because in reality it will change nothing apart from generating futher frustration leading to disasters like the one we are witnessing.
        base on the truth,in terms of oppotunities to creat an industry from scratch,is it true that there is no future in cameroon?i completely disagree with you,i will even say cameroon is the most fertile place on earth to creat an industry because everything is still to be done,from agriculture to industry,building of new cities,transport systems,etc.

        • @BAH:_ i know its something you cant understand.Complaining against injustice, inequality and corruption is again part of our culture..You have never learned this as the French system never gave u room to air your voices..They beat u up for complaining.
          we complain because Cameroon is a failed state..Strange enough a paradise for you because u dont look any further..
          Everyone is not corrupt in government but most eastern cameroonians are corrupt..Government consists of individuals of different types and the worse ones are eastern cameroonians who have made the system a corrupt one.
          We southern cameroonians have the simple believe that
          If you are truly honest, competent and courageous, you can transform a government department beyond imagination.
          I hope that make sense to you?

    • Southern Cameroonians are very free thinkers..
      They are thought in school to ask questions.. They are generally very calm and respectful people, what many eastern Cameroonians or francophones think they are weak…
      Southern cameroonians have been raised not to accept everything, they feel its a right to protest and demonstrate when things are not moving- Francophones are raised to obey, you are brutalized when you protest..Remain in chains and close your mouth..Thats why they cant understand why southern cameroonians are protesting against the system.
      Greater emphasis in French africas education is on the core subjects,i.e. French and maths, and less time given to imaginative/creative subjects and history, thats why they have remained a bit backward in africa. you guys need help.

      • Can you enlighten us on the particular subject and at which level francophones are taught to obey while anglophones are taught the contrary? I am seriously interested in the answer. Thanks in advance.

      • BIKO free thinking people will never take such a sucidal decesion of attacking a superior enemy who retaliates killing indiscriminately,and you start complaining.thinking people wiegh all risk before action.
        we need to maneuver the situation and succefully craft an african system of education where instruction is carried out in an african language cutting alien cultural enfluence.not standing along occupation lines killing each other while others advance.
        as creative as the so called anglophone system of education is,we do not have one industry employing ten thousand people from NJAH ETU to FUNDONG?where is the creativity?or creativity mean creticizing younde?

        • Ni, no man. According to ur thinking, blacks made a huge mistake to fight slavery, marginalizatio and segregation cuz whites were superior enemies. According to ur philosophy, Jim Crowe era will still be happening today., cuz the blacks were stupid enough to fight it.

        • @BAH: i will not even expect you to understand what is happening in southern Cameroons..You have been raised to always obey and be quiet..
          The southern cameroonians are people who generally have the power or right to act, speak, or think as they want..
          This is the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.
          You dont know this, have never witnessed or experienced it, so i can imagine you see it as brutalism or vandalism.
          Dont forget that the few positive political changes you are enjoying in that cameroon today, came from the freedom fighters of southern cameroons.
          Its hard for you to understand because its a cultural thing..
          We are all africans but there are africans who dont know and will never whats happening.(like eastern Cameroonians) and those who make things happen.(Southern people).

  4. @Theman Have Biya and his gang ever told u where petrol money have been going to for the past 35 years? Has Biya and his gang ever told u people,why the decentralization that his regime promised anglophones and the francophones not been effective till date? Has Biya and his gang ever told u people,why the constitution of the country gives all the powers to a single individual,the president?
    Oh,yes we need to dialogue, and many other things,if this country have to remain one.Biya and his gang cannot mortgage the destiny of our unborn children in the hands of France like Ahidjo did to Francophones in 1959.

    • We no longer want LRP even if an anglophone takes over.we are fade up with this Anglo-French union. it is time to stay clear of any language adulteration-French.