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Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director of The Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect, has just joined other world leaders to call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Cameroon.Host: Mimi Mefo

Posted by DW Africa on Monday, June 22, 2020

Cameroon’s escalating Anglophone crisis shows little sign of abating

DW | Since 2017, Cameroon’s mainly English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions have been rocked by violence after separatists declared the independence of Ambazonia. DW examines the untold suffering caused by the unrest.

Cameroon’s Anglophone region remains in the grip of a seemingly never-ending crisis, even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. International observers are increasing their calls to cease the violence, following reports of attacks and abductions of health workers.

The crisis in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, now four years old, started in 2016 when lawyers and teachers took to the streets of Buea and Bamenda to protest the domination of French in Anglophone courts and schools.

The strike action quickly gained public sympathy and, on November 21, a popular uprising dubbed “the coffin revolution” took place in Bamenda demanding political reforms.

The situation escalated on October 1, 2017, when militant secessionist groups, led by Julius Sisiku Ayuke Tabe, symbolically proclaimed the independence of a new nation — including the two Anglophone regions — called Ambazonia.

Clashes between the Cameroon military and separatist fighters have led to over 3,000 deaths and many displaced persons.

Peace efforts continue

Cameroon’s prime minister in 2019 organized a national dialogue on behalf of the country’s government to seek solutions to the worsening crisis — yet hostilities have continued, despite a special status being granted to the two Anglophone regions.

The Archbishop of Bamenda, Andrew Nkea Fuanya, has now joined several organizations in calling for peace in Cameroon. He announced during an April 2019 audience granted by President Paul Biya to Swiss Ambassador to Cameroon Pietro Lazzeri that the Swiss Confederation had expressed its readiness to support national initiatives that can lead to lasting peace in the country.

The proposal was welcomed by the separatists. In a letter dated April 17, the archbishop challenged the warring parties to make the difficult decision to end the conflict, in the best interests of the people. The Catholic Church in Cameroon lost several worshippers and priests in the conflict.

Titled “Now is Time for Peace,” the letter read: “Seeking peace or a ceasefire is not a sign of weakness or cowardice. On the contrary, it shows maturity and proper care for the fatherland and genuine love for others.”

Locals struggle to access food

Separatist fighters in Mamfe in the Southwest region and Bali in the Northwest regions recently set up roadblocks, barring movement of people and goods from the two regions.

Commuters were stranded and goods in transit — especially perishables — quickly spoiled. Some families were forced to bury their loved ones in Mamfe because of the road blocks.

“I bought 50 bunches of plantains from mamfe to sell in Bamenda,” said Susana Timgum who explained how she almost lost her capital.

“They were all tied up in the truck and we were forced to sleep on the way for weeks. The bunches all got ripe. Thank God I was able to sell two weeks after the roads were opened.”

Hanson Song, another victim of the road block, said he missed seeing his son immediately after delivery.

“My wife was due deliveries asked her to relocate to Bamenda because it’s safe. She was delivered of a baby boy and I only get to see my son three weeks after,” he said.

Battles continue

A local mayor was killed in Mamfe in April by suspected separatist fighters who later asked people not to attend his funeral. Six young men were later slaughtered for bypassing the separatist injunction order and attending the funeral. In Kumbo, Northwest region, there are frequent gun battles between the military and separatists fighters.

Last week, 12 separatist fighters were killed in Jackiri and a separatist fighter died in Mbingo. In Mbangolan, Belo, Bafut, Kumba and Mamfe, unending gun battles have continued with fatalities on both sides.

Lockdowns force residents inside

One of the oldest forms of civil disobedience — adopted at the start of the Anglophone crisis — has remained. Ghost town operations and lockdowns force locals in the two regions to close their shops and remain indoors for days and even weeks at a time.

This usually happens every time a government organized event takes place. On Sunday June 21, all diaspora groups leading the separatist fighters on the ground called for a lockdown to disrupt a mobilization tour of the Northwest by Paul Tasong, the head of the government-created commission to reconstruct the two Anglophone regions.

Therese Ntum says she was taken by surprise and now has no food.

“My family is living on boiled corn,” she told DW. “We woke up on Monday to hear the news of the three-day lockdown. We did not buy enough food over the weekend. We do not know how we can survive until Thursday.”

Hardships felt by all

The escalating conflict has brought untold misery to the population, according to Professor Tih Pius Muffi, director of the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS).

“Essential drugs have not been able to reach hospitals,” he told DW. “Doctors’ clinics have gone without routine support services and patients can’t access health centers and hospitals. Some of these patients have died in their homes and some have reached the hospital too late.”

Stacy Lawong, who fled from Kumbo to Bamenda, lost all her certificates.

“Our house was burnt down while we were in the bush,” she told DW. “We ran to Bamenda. I can’t find a job. I cant move out because I do not have identification papers. We are surviving thanks to the benevolence of our neighbors and people of goodwill. Doing business in the two Anglophone regions has become difficult.”

Tanwi Godwill survives by selling raw banyans and plantains he buys from the divisions. His business no longer provides for him and his family.

“I always go to the bush market on the weekend to buy [food],” he told DW. “Now time and again, you get to the park just to hear the road is blocked. When you succeed [in buying something], ghost towns and lockdowns won’t allow you to [take the goods]. It is difficult.”

In an effort to sabotage the economy of the two regions, separatists have also started to burn down power transmitters and cut down pylons, leaving the lone power supply company ENEO to ration electricity, further crippling businesses and startups.

No hope for a swift end

President Biya has called on separatist fighters to drop their guns and come out of the bush. But tensions remain high.

He has addressed the nation several times during the crisis, however separatists maintain that he must first call off the war and initiate meaningful dialogue with all sides.

But, despite a call from the UN secretary general at the dawn of the COVID-19 crisis for a ceasefire, nothing has changed in the two Anglophone regions, where gun battles continue unabated.

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19 comments

  1. In his two very important books, english and colonialism, and the cultural politics of English as an international language alastair pennycook explained in simple words the strategy employed by Britain to creat an alead by culture, psychology, thirst and orientation british but african physic.to attain this objective pennycook says, the alead had to be educated in English because English is not only a language of comminucation but a culture, a way of thinking. If the alead can be prepared mentally and culturally to think they are British through use of language. Then we would be conquered and controlled definitively because those are supposed to rebel against assimilation and civilization erasure have been neautralised through English education.

    • This is what a person who has been brainwashed writes..
      Have you ever criticized the government of cameroon?..How can you when you were raised to eat bread and sardine and stay quiet…
      Do you know the history of cameroon?,
      Have you ever read about the union of East and west cameroons?.
      You want to hide behind the English language and start making stupid noise ..
      DO you know that Cameroon is a kakistocracy ?? This is a system of government that is run by the worst, least qualified, and/or most unscrupulous citizens.
      why can a brain washed BAH ACHO- with his big belly full of bread, sardine and beer dont criticize the fact that the ugly despot Paul Biya and his gangs are the cause of the problems in Cameroon..??
      Wake up and use your brain young man..

      • What have you achieved since you started criticising the system in younde? what i did above was trying to explain the mechanism controlling our thinking and actions through alien tongues. I am not interested in emotional reactions.

  2. This explains why some of us are so emotionally attached to a language that makes us to be like animals in a box controlled and manipulated with little bits of food.all the terms build into English language by British terminologist have as objective supporting the cultural destruction of others and the justification of conquer and occupation by Caucasian races.in oder for us to think free and posses out thought process. We must build an African language like KISWAHILI to become language of instruction. This is possible by employing terminologist, and translators to creat new terms expressing scientific and technical thought without deviating words from other languages to maintain linguistic purity. Once this is done instruction will move from English to KISWAHILI.

    • @BAH ACHO- wake up, keep bread and sardine aside and start using your brains to analyze issues ..
      Its not a language problem at all..
      Its a system of government that smart southern cameroonians dont want to have..
      We dont want to be fooled by france..We dont want to pay france colonial taxes..We dont want to be proud that we can speak french like in paris and want france to control our economy..
      We from southern cameroon are trying to open your brains , free you from mental slavery..
      When we work hard to build the economy , all you do is give the fruits of our labour to france..

      We dont have inferiority complex..we are a people with a culture and want to take full responsibility of our country..is it so hard for u to understand?

      • BIKO,,,,, A system of government is the product of culture carried IF NOT, by language. What is the connection between common law and the person living in MANKON? absolutely nothing, yet we have been asking for it. How did we get to know about it? Through language. By institutionalising our own language we shall craft a system using our cultural references. We can pick alien elements but the core is african.

      • Bah Cho, the dunce is at it again.

        “By institutionalising our own language we shall craft a system using our cultural references.” This is mumbo jumbo at its worst. What is cultural references?

        Which language will you be institutionalizing? Mankon? Bakweri? Bakossi? Bayangi? Lamso?

        Are you saying people in Mankon are not subject to Common Law? Do you know the definition of Common Law? Is there any society that is not bound by some form of Law?

        A while ago on this platform, in this response to bottlenecks regarding acquisition of land titles in Bamenda, you bluffed how you bought land, obtained the title and was developing an irrigation system. Where is it?

        Your feeble mind is always laid bare by the nonsense you post here. Please, spare the readers your garbage. Idiot!

  3. what a whitewash report from a bias coward reporter who forgot to mention that biya in 2017 declared a war against peace plant protestors because of french Cameroon fail annexation policies in 60 years,use of their kangaroo judiciary and education system which was based on their assimilation process of poor sub sahara education prevention the English in SW/NW regions to obtain good jo for 60 yearss.As long as french Cameroon does not seek for a meaningful mediation to the ROOT CAUSES with all separatists leaders in Cameroon and abroad nothing will change, french cameroon must first announce a genuine ceasefire, demilitarising, stop looting, raping, killing and destructional operations from the English regions,the people will continue to defend themselves by all means from a foreign force

  4. It’s a simple cause; Biya’s rigging of elections, stronghold on power & policy of assimilation. Biya voiced these sentiments during a meeting with Mo Ibrahim who just fell short of directly accusing him but instructed him to make peace and stop shooting down his people. Biya was in a sense rebuked, with a handheld garbage of a speech in a forum that needed a discussion.

    In 1992 elections , Biya tested his popularity in Cameroon. He was soundly & roundly defeated by Fru Ndi who even by word of Issa Chiroma & by most estimates had more than 70% of the vote. Fru Ndi defeated Biya in four of five constituencies in Yaoundé, even where Biya voted.

    Biya is bereft of love from his country especially with overwhelming rejection from anglophone regions. He made a decision to tear down the nation.

  5. Fools, stop it. The gov`t, is not coming to rebuild the NW / SW. It is coming to rebuild
    gov`t offices, halls and repair some buildings that were destroyed. Similarly, it will take
    the people for fools, and start building military and police barracks. So, be wise and be
    warned before you get surprises.
    Where does the gov`t have the money, to rebuild the NW and SW ? All the stollen
    wealth from Ambazonia, can not rebuild it at this time, please. Why is it that Cameroonians,
    always fail to understand the lies of this crooked regime of late Biya / CPDM?

  6. @Bah acho ”What is the connection between common law and the person living in MANKON?”.You are a typical example of a man who speaks and listens himself.May be u should start by telling us the connection between civil law and a person living in Mbalmayo.You claim to love African culture so much,yet,u are not blaming Ahidjo and Biya who have been presiding over the destiny of this country for the passed 70 years, why they did not institutionalise fang or fufulde in Cameroon’s institutions.It is now Sisiku’s fault that those French slaves did not do what u are advocating for? Simply because we want to take back our territory and put our own institutions,u are asking stupid questions about common law and a man living in Mankon.Go and ask Biya that question first.Then i will know u meant it.

  7. @Bah acho U are a half-baked panafricanist.Take your lessons elsewhere.You are so boring…..

    • KONGOSA,,,,, do you think that blaming ahijo and mvondo biya will change anything? If so what have you achieved since you started criticising them? Any display of anger or emotions in a situation needing a calm coolheaded thoughtful approach to find a workable solution is terrible weakness. We must put emotions aside and solicitate rational thinking in oder to be capable of crafting a strategy that will work base on reality. Intelligence is the capacity to solution problems, not complaining. It is as simple as that, logic most guide our thinking and behaviour.

      • “Intelligence is the capacity to solution problems, not complaining.”

        My Lord! “…capacity to solution problems…” Bah Cho, your grammar is so horrible.

        If the source of a problem is not identified, meaningful solution cannot be designed.

        Being emotional and passionate about an issue has absolutely nothing to do with the ability to address the issue.

        “…solicitate rational thinking in oder to be capable of crafting a strategy that will work base on reality…” Another garbage, spellings, a sentence that does not make any sense at all.

        People think rationally, you do not “solicitate rational thinking”. Stupidity at worst.

  8. People of Southern Cameroons are currently being rounded up and searched in Yaounde. This is exactly what happened in Nigeria and Ojukwu had to declare secession from Nigeria the State of Biafra. Anglophones should start leaving all LRC territory before things get worse!

    • Do you think if all what you called Anglophones in other cities were to leave and returned to the SW/NW will there be enough spaces to accommodate them so that they can all get jobs and live normal life you see how stupid you are?

  9. @Bah acho ”do you think that blaming ahijo and mvondo biya will change anything?”’….Since blaming Ahidjo or Biya will not change anything, why do u think that blaming the seccessionist will change something? If so,what have u achieved since u started criticising the seccessionist by asking the connection between common law and a person living in MANKON? U should be the one to put emotions aside and solicitate rational thinking.

    • KONGOSA,,,,, the lack of rational thinking i am talking about is declearing war to a superior enemy that we can never defeat. Do you see the irrationality in following the masses who act without rational thinking?

  10. @Bah acho ”the lack of rational thinking i am talking about is declearing war to a superior enemy that we can never defeat.”……HA ha ha ha…So,the seccessionist are the ones that declared war? Are u taking marijuana? Do u want to say that u did not see the seccessionists massacred while marching with peace plants from the beginning of this conflict? The seccessionists are in their towns and villages in NW and SW,defending a war that have been imposed on them and u say thay are the ones that declared the war? Since u qualify the gov’t as a superior enemy,let them defeat the seccessionists and govern SC lets see.We are in the third year of the war?about 70 percent of SC is not govern by neither the government,nor the seccessionist.Neither party will win this senseless war.

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