The North West Regional Governor, Adolf Lele l’Afrique, has decided to comply with the order issued by the Ambazonian Interim Government (IG) last week. Mr. L’Afrique who has been issuing orders ever since the crisis started is now being asked to comply with an order by the Ambazonian Interim Government.
The colonial governor has finally decided that his family should return to La Republique following an order issued by the IG indicating that all French-speaking Cameroonians should return to their country at the end of May failure of which the Interim Government will not be able to guarantee their security.
As a law-abiding citizen, Mr. L’Afrique has sent his children and wife to La Republic to spare them the pain that will come after the expiry of the deadline given by the Interim Government.
The IG order was read last week by the Communications Secretary, Mr. Chris Anu, on the Southern Cameroons Broadcasting Corporation, where he underscored that all Southern Cameroonians must eject all French-speaking Cameroonians from their homes. He stressed that failure to comply with this order will lead to severe actions by the Ambazonian Defense Forces who are in charge of security in the two English-speaking regions.
Meanwhile fighting has intensified in many parts of Southern Cameroons. On Saturday, it was reported that a family of seven was killed in Kuke while another man had met his death in Baba near Mbonge in Ndian Division. The violence in the region has increased since Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, appointed a colonel to replace General Melingui who had acknowledged that the military had committed huge human rights abuses in the two English-speaking regions.
General Melingui had added that many homes had been burnt down by the military and this did not go down well with the president and the hawks who surround him. He was immediately fired and replaced by a junior officer who many say has ordered the military to intensify its operations in the regions.
Also, a military truck transporting some forty soldiers overturned in the South West regional port city of Limbe. Our correspondent in Limbe has reported that some 16 soldiers have lost their lives and many were wounded, with several being critical.
Pictures of the wounded soldiers have been published on social media and many Southern Cameroonians have been rejoicing, pointing out that God is on their side and that if the Yaounde government did not withdraw its ill-trained soldiers, many would perish in similar circumstances. The soldiers were heading to Muyuka in the South West where the government had ordered a serious crackdown in that part of the region.
Meanwhile, on Friday May 11, 2018, a list of new targets was sent to the Cameroon Concord News Group’s global headquarters in England. Former Prime Minister Peter Mafany Musonge, Minister Paul Atanga Nji, Senator Tabetando, Governor Okalal Bilai, Divisional Officer Joseph Oum II, Member of Parliament Susan Okpu, former minister Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, former Minister Ogork Ntui Ebot, former minister Benjamin Itoe, minister Victor Mengot Arrey, Prof Echu George, Senator Achidi Achu and Prime Minister Yang Philemon are some of the names on the list that was sent unanimously.
The list comes as the violence in the region has escalated. As the tension increases, the Yaounde government is gradually coming to terms with the fact that Mr. Biya’s declaration of war on the people of Southern Cameroons at the Nsimalen International Airport upon his return from a Francophonie conference in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, was a pure error of judgement.
Indeed, Mr. Biya and his government had completely misinterpreted things. It appeared they were reading an old script; a script that was designed for another problem that had nothing to do with the determined Southern Cameroonian fighters. He had clearly underestimated the determination and will of a few to bring about change in a country. Indeed, he had failed to understand that those who make peaceful change impossible only make violent change inevitable.
The government has been anything but humble during this crisis. Its relentless pursuit of peace through military violence has divided the country for ever. The government’s arrogance and inefficiency are costing the country huge amounts of money and the loss of human life is really disturbing. Both soldiers and civilians are being killed in a conflict that could have been avoided. This is a mistake that will remain in many minds for decades. The country’s history has been tainted with the blood of many innocent lives.
But there is no mistake that cannot be fixed. Many mistakes have already been made and it will be preposterous to continue making more of such mistakes. Cameroon needs peace and that peace cannot come if the killings continue. The government has a huge responsibility in this. It must change its strategy. If it thinks it can make Cameroon one and indivisible by seeking to impose peace on Southern Cameroonians, then it is not yet ready to smoke that pipe of peace that the international community is calling on it to smoke.
There is no ideal way to secure peace than through negotiations. The government must come down its Ivory Tower to meet Southern Cameroonians halfway. The country’s English-speaking minority has proven that a few people can bring change in a country that has been rejecting change for decades.
Cameroon will never be the same again. The government’s ill-advised decision to declare war on a section of its population will always come back to bite it. Times have changed, and mentalities must keep pace. Negotiations should be the government’s administrative tool of choice. The government has to embrace new ways. It should understand that intimidation will not cut it. Even long jail terms will not address the issue. Southern Cameroonians are resolute. They are not going to give in just because they are being intimidated and killed.
They have been living a life of marginalization for years and they think they must put an end to such dictatorship. Cameroon belongs to all and every citizen must be made to feel at home wherever he finds himself. But with so many lives cut short by this senseless war, it will be hard for real negotiations to take place.
Southern Cameroonians want to live in their own country. For 56 years, they have been victims of government discrimination. The Yaounde government has never respected its commitments towards the indigenous people of Southern Cameroons. The government’s mistakes have really made it hard for Southern Cameroonians to live with their French-speaking counterparts.
The rift is there. It will be hard for these wounds to heal. Many people have lost their lives, and the pain will linger for a long time. The government has a lot on its plate. It has to take a long and hard look at its script. Its current script is simply making Southern Cameroons independence possible. The government will have to bend over backwards if it really wants to hold the country together.
By Kingsley Betek in Yaounde