The war in Southern Cameroons is not generating a drumbeat of daily headlines in French speaking Cameroon, even though the conflict has claimed thousands of Anglophone and Francophone lives and seen tens of thousands of Southern Cameroonians as refugees in neighbouring Nigeria. It is indeed a conflict that will go on for a long time and will eventually see children of veteran soldiers deployed in the same war.
The Biya Francophone Beti Ewondo regime has no pity for English speaking Cameroonians. Correspondingly, the death of children and pregnant women during this fighting does not arouse any pity in Yaoundé. The Biya criminal gang has one objective – proving that it can win a war – and the generals leading the troops clearly hold that the insurgency is an opportunity for them to enrich themselves.
But for over four years now, the initial purpose of the Francophone dominated military mission – to go after Ambazonia Restoration Forces and destroyed English speaking Cameroon– has not been met and the mission has now devolved into French Cameroun’s “forever war”.
As Biya and his Beti Ewondo military leaders continue to unleash its army soldiers on the Southern Cameroons population just to demonstrate its strength, Ambazonia Restoration Forces are fighting back and killing the Francophone soldiers in their numbers.
A total of 2067 Cameroon government soldiers have died and 9000 have been wounded since the war started four years ago. The number of Southern Cameroons civilian deaths range from 25,000 to 35,000, while the cost of military operations continues to rise.
More than 2,000 Francophone army soldiers have escaped to the Ivory Coast via Nigeria and many are defecting to seek safety in other French speaking African countries, according to Cameroon Ministry of Defense. Instead of seeking ways of ending the violence and engineering peace in the two English-speaking regions of the country, the Yaounde government is doing its best to prove a point that has no raison d’etre.
This is a war that could have been clearly avoided if the government had used known instruments of conflict management and resolution. Genuine dialogue, a key thrust of conflict resolution, was clearly ignored and to deceive the people of Southern Cameroons and the international community, the despicable Yaoundé government organized a semblance of dialogue wherein it chose who had to participate in it, which issues had to be discussed and what resolutions and conclusions had to be reached by the participants; an idea which only caused the conflict to escalate by multiple notches.
The recent killing of two Southern Cameroons civilians and raping of a 53-year-old woman is no accident and let nobody be deceived by whatever the government would say.
The Yaounde government is in the business of winning an argument and it will stop at nothing to prove its point. As usual, it will order an investigation, the findings of which will remain a dead letter like most of the other investigations conducted over the last 39 years by a government that has been conducting itself like a crime syndicate made in the same mould as the Sicilian Mafia.
By Isong Asu in London