The colonisation of the Southern Cameroons, or the Federal Republic of Ambazonia, by La Republique du Cameroun, has been long and violent. PATRICK AGEJO AGHE and PATRICK AYUK write about the current state of unrest in their homeland and the resultant humanitarian crisis that has emerged in the English-speaking regions.
It has been close to two years since a deepening socio-political crisis emerged in the English-speaking region of Cameroon (the former British Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons). After the end of World War II, the people of Southern Cameroons, following the UN General Assembly Resolution 1608 (XV) of April 21 1961, were to attain independence on October 1 1961, by joining the sovereign State of La Republique du Cameroun (French Cameroon) in a Federation of two States, equal in status. Unfortunately, the union lasted only for five years and La Republique du Cameroun moved its military forces into defenceless Southern Cameroons, suppressed the independence of Southern Cameroons, and it has been in colonial occupation ever since.
On October 2016, lawyers, joined by the Teachers’ Trade Unions in November the same year, engaged in a peaceful strike action decrying the continuous domination, annexation, and marginalisation of the minority English-speaking population of Southern Cameroons by the majority French Cameroun. The lawyers and teachers were brutally humiliated, some of the unions’ leaders were arrested on January 17 2017 and transferred to be tried in a military court in Yaoundé, and on April 1 2017, internet access was disconnected for 93 days from the entire English-speaking regions of Cameroon. The lawyers and teachers unions, known as the Cameroon Anglophone Consortium, was banned and their leaders were arrested and charged for crimes of terrorism, incitement of war and treason, and others fled into exile. After eight months of detention and trial by the military court, some of the leaders were released and others have been slammed jail terms ranging from 11 – 15 years imprisonment.
On September 22 2017, the entire population of Southern Cameroons came out with peace plants, protesting against the annexation and marginalisation by the French-speaking government of Cameroon. So many people were killed; others arrested by the military forces of La Republique du Cameroun. On October 1 2017, the independence of Southern Cameroons was restored which witnessed the massacre of hundreds of unarmed civilians with the use of helicopter gunships by the French Cameroun soldiers.
The government of French Cameroun, since September 22 2017, has engaged in a scorched-earth tactic, killing thousands of unarmed civilians, burning down 87 villages, maiming, raping, and jailing Southern Cameroonians. There are more than 30 000 registered Southern Cameroons refugees currently in Nigeria and approximately 160 000 internally displaced people following this crisis. This crisis has been described as a crime of genocide by many international human rights groups.
On January 5 2018 our leaders, plus 39 others, making a total of 47 people were abducted from the Nera Hotel in Abuja, Nigeria and were reported to have been illegally deported to French Cameroun in violation of international law. To date we do not know where they are.
The French Cameroun government, following an intelligence report, is trying to embark on the same illegal approach with Nigeria by engaging in a corporate deal with South African companies like MTN, to abduct other Southern Cameroons leaders living in South Africa and deporting them to Cameroon in exchange for a business agreement.
After the restoration of the independence of Former British Southern Cameroon, an interim government has been formed and the name for the country adopted to be called the Federal Republic of Ambazonia. In order to assist in the proper functioning of our interim government, the people of Southern Cameroons have created a grassroots revolutionary movement known as Southern Cameroons Congress of the People (SCCOP) and a humanitarian response non-profit organization called the Sam Soya Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (SSCDHR). The mission of SCCOP is to facilitate grassroots mobilization, civic and political education for Southern Cameroonians, and the engagement of relevant stakeholders for full emancipation of the people of Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia). The SSCDHR is to commemorate Sam Soya, who was brutally beheaded by French Cameroon soldiers; children, grandmothers, and fathers burnt in their houses by French Cameroon soldiers; and many others that lost their lives in similar targeted execution styles. It is for Ambazonian leaders and activists abducted while on exile in Nigeria and are now held incommunicado in French Cameroon maximum security cells and bunkers under extremely inhumane conditions; and for providing care and relief support to more than 160 000 suffering masses internally displaced as a result of more than 84 villages with an average population estimate of more than 5 000 people per village completely burnt to dust by French Cameroon’s savage army, more than 60 000 Southern Cameroons’ refugees in Nigeria alone, and uncountable in other parts of the diaspora.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this column stated that AngloGold Ashanti operates in Cameroon and Nigeria. “AngloGold does not operate in Cameroon nor Nigeria,” a company spokesperson said to The Daily Vox.
Patrick Ayuk is the director of the SSCDHR, and Patrick Agejo Ageh is a member of SCCOP.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policies of The Daily Vox.