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As armed conflict in NW, SW rages on: Gov’t continues to target Diaspora Anglophone activists and Citizens returning into the country

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As the crisis in the Northwest and Southwest regions, which has mutated into an armed conflict rages on, the government has continued to target Anglophone activists in the Diaspora, accusing them of being those fuelling the conflict.

In this light, most Anglophones residing in the Diaspora have been declared persona non grata as they are believed to have taken part in most of the peaceful demonstrations staged by the Ambazonia separatist leaders and English speaking Cameroonians living in the Diaspora. Some of them are being arrested at the airports as they come back home; especially participating on social media. Some of those arrested are awaiting trial in the military tribunals. They will be tried under the anti-terrorism law whose maximum sentence is the death penalty.

Others who are mostly American citizens are always repatriated to the USA and warned never to return in Cameroon. A case is that of a university professor in the US, Patrice Nganang, who was arrested, detained and accused of threatening the life President Biya. He is a dual Cameroon –US citizen but authorities seized his Cameroon passport, and expelled him from Cameroon, warning him never to return.

Harmony Bobga, lawyer and anglophon activist

It would be recalled that since the crisis in the Northwest and Southwest regions spiralled into an armed conflict, there has been gun battles between security forces and fighters loyal to the Ambazonia movement that has declared the independence of the English-speaking regions, christening it Republic of Ambazonia.

There have military crackdowns on the population of these regions as they come out to celebrate what they term is the independence of the self-declared Ambazonia. On such occasions, many were killed, others arrested, tortured and detained under horrendous conditions. Some are reported to have died in detention. Some of the soldiers deployed to the North West and South West regions to battle the Ambazonia fighters are alleged to have raped innocent women and girls. Some civilians are reported to have disappeared with their whereabouts not known till date.

On 1 October 2017 there were several killings in the two English-speaking regions as Anglophones came out to celebrate what they termed the independence of Amabazonia. There was also mass exodus from Buea and many other towns in the Northwest and Southwest regions. Some people fled into the dangerous bushes and forests where they built temporal tents for shelter and others crossed over to Nigeria. Some towns in the English-speaking regions are still destroyed and deserted as most of the population fled for safety. Thousands have crossed over to neighbouring Nigeria where they are living as refugees. Others who crossed over to the French-speaking regionsmost especially in Douala, Cameroon were ordered to return to their areas of residence; others were branded terrorists, tortured and killed while some disappeared overnight without anyone knowing their whereabouts.

Emmy Tricia Kesah, lawyer and activist

Extrajudicial killings, burning down of entire villages or ethnic communities, shooting unarmed civilians, forcing the disappearances in Southwest and Northwest regions are now the order of the day.

According to international organisation, over 3000 people in the crisis-hit regions have been internally displaced. The Centre for Human Rights and Democratic in Africa, CHRDA, says about 250 villages have been burnt in the Northwest and Southwest regions. The villages include Kwa Kwa, Boa Bakundu, Kembong, Bole Bakundu, DiendaBakundu, Big Ngwandi, Bakumba, Bokosso, Nake, Kobonbe mission, Kake I, Kake II, Bekondo, Big Massaka, Nganjo, Foe Bakundu, among others.

Meanwhile Children have been out of school for a period of over 3 years. There are over 1500 children who are out of school, some are child refugees living in the bushes and forests and others are in the refugee camp in Nigeria.

It should be recalled that leaders of the Anglophone separatist movements including SisikuAyukTabe and nine others, who were arrested in Abuja, Nigeria in January 2018 and later deported to Yaounde were in August 2019, handed life sentences.

Meanwhile, most WhatsApp groups classified as Separatist Groups in the Diaspora have been infiltrated by government agents and their members always accused of acts of terrorism and rebellion and are being arrested, detained and sent for trial at the military tribunal upon their arrival in Cameroon.

Mark Bareta et Tapang Ivo Tanku, two firebrands activists

Good examples of most of these groups are: Lawyers Without Borders, Think Tanks for Africa, Birocol UK, Southern Cameroons Women,Cameroon in the UK,Ambaland Islamic Battalion, Southern Cameroons Community UK and Southern Cameroons Resistance Front. The names of members of such groups have been well classified and most of them who have visited Cameroon so far were arrested at the airport in Douala, Cameroon, detained and are awaiting trial in the Military Tribunal, Yaounde, Cameroon.

Most activists on social media namely: Mark Bareta, Tapang Ivo, MbutonBobga Harmony, Anu Chris, Ray Timah, Sako Samuel, Emmy Tricia Kesah, Cho Ayaba Lucas, Aaron YanchoKaah and anyone spotted advocating against the government of Cameroon have been classified as terrorists. These activists have been charged and sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia for acts of terrorism and rebellion.

 

Reine ESSOMBA

 

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