The Southern Cameroons Liberation Council (SCLC) condemns, in the strongest terms, the reported kidnapping of an unknown number of civilians in the Republic of Ambazonia, formerly the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon.
The victims include a former Bar Association president and former presidential candidate, Barrister Akere Muna, and an unknown number of people who were traveling in his convoy in the Northern Zone of Ambazonia.
The SCLC calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all those kidnapped and points an accusing finger at the regime of President Paul Biya for orchestrating the crime.
Ambazonian Restoration Forces operating in the Northern Zone, including the commander in charge of Ambazonian self-defense forces in the area, have denied involvement. One General issued an audio press release Tuesday, denying responsibility for the crime. In the audio, the commander prays that no harm be done to the victims if they are in the keeping of any Ambazonian forces; that no ransom be accepted and that victims be released if their safety cannot be guaranteed.
The SCLC also accuses thousands of pro-regime militia operating in Ambazonia who have specialized in hostage taking for ransom. Regime armed and security forces have also carried out abductions, kidnappings, deportations to jails outside Ambazonia, and raids on UN-managed refugee camps.
Massacres, targeted killings, extrajudicial executions are among a long line of desperate crimes by regime forces aimed at convincing the international community that the pro-independence campaign is a terrorist organization.
In October, November and December 2018 and in March 2019, masked gunmen, who were later revealed to be soldiers of the regime, kidnapped students in Bafut and Bamenda, in the Northern Zone, and in Kumba and Buea, in the Southern Zone.
In the November 2018 kidnapping of 81 students and their teachers in Bamenda, the regime appeared to have been seeking to generate the global outrage which followed the kidnappings, in April 2014 by Boko Haram, of 276 Chibok Girls in Nigeria’s Borno State. The lead kidnapper in that case was later positively identified as Armel Rostand Mveng, an officer in the Cameroonian army.
The SCLC reiterates that the only terrorists in the Cameroons are Biya’s colonial forces. After declaring war on Ambazonia on 30 November 2017, the regime issued radio announcements, promising to commit war crime. It ordered civilians to vacate villages suspected of hosting Ambazonian fighters, known to the regime as “rats”, “dogs”, “terrorists” and “secessionists”.
More than 10,000 civilians have been killed so far. Over a million Ambazonians now live in the forests, fleeing the colonial forces which have looted and razed nearly 200 villages.