President Paul Biya declared war against the terrorist organization Boko Haram from Paris in France was an act which carried symbolic weight. For those in doubt, that act conveyed in unmistakable terms the message that Cameroun was not fully independent and that for all purposes and intents it remained a French colony; call it a vassal state if you may. There can be no gainsaying that, the declaration of war from Cameroon’s neo-colonial power, France conveyed along the message that although the war was to be fought in Cameroon, it was being fought not for the interest of Cameroonians and the peoples of African descent but for the wider interest of France. It was being for the wider interest of France in that it was to cushion the effect of French Military aggression in the African Sahel which claimed the life of President Moamar Kaddafi of Libya and reinforced France’s neo-colonial grip on the resources of its African vassal states.
The war against Boko Haram is a complex war involving equally complex distinct interests. The participants in the war against Boko Haram are an unusual association, of “reversed Robin Hoods”, “Alibabas”, bloodletting dictators and genuine crime fighters. This makes the forces allied in combating the criminal terrorist group to love and hate it in equal measure. Some of the leaders involved in this war, rode on the exploits of Boko Haram to power, others see the war as an opportunity to eternalize power in their vassal states and yet others see the war as an opportunity to fine-tune and legitimize the methods and acts of terror against enemy populations whom they accuse of threatening their political and economic power and those of their slave masters. The Government of Cameroon (GOC) falls in almost all of these categories. The ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in the Southern Cameroons justifies this categorical statement.
It cannot be reasonably disputed that the GOC has paid significant ransom to Boko Haram with which it has sustained its criminal terrorist onslaught against armless civilians in the affected areas of Northern Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad. With the exception of one case involving the wife and the family of the Vice Prime Minister Ahmadou Ali, all the cases in which ransom has been paid have been those of foreigners. The fact that negotiations occurred between the GOC and the criminal terrorist gang is enough evidence that the GOC knows so well Boko Haram and the forces driving the terrorist activities of this criminal gang. It can therefore not be reasonably disputed that apart from paying ransom the GOC offers political, strategic, logistics and tactical patronage to this criminal gang. The widely stated but never denied allegation by the Chadian Government that about forty-seven percent of the arms used by Boko Haram are of French origin supports the possibility that the well-publicized payment of ransom might well have included the delivery of arms, money, political patronage, logistical and tactical support.
A careful observation and analysis of the methods deployed by the GOC against peaceful, armless Southern Cameroonians that has led to widespread and systemic crimes against humanity, genocide and egregious human rights violations mirrors the acts of terror and criminality deployed by Boko Haram against the civilian populations in the Lake Chad Basin, the wider areas of the African Sahel, Northern Cameroon and Northern Nigeria. We will examine some of them here.
The main target of Boko Haram attacks are armless civilians. The main focus of the attacks by military, para-military, administrative, political and police deployed by the GOC to the Southern Cameroons is the civilian population. Boko Haram abducts civilians and deports them from their homes and natural environments to distant areas and submits them to alien justice bordering on judicial murder. The abduction of thousands of school girls, women and men who were abducted by Boko Haram and some deported from their homes to Sambisa Forest, many who have never been seen, shocked the conscience of humanity.
Boko Haram also takes hostages to extort ransom and other resources to sustain its war efforts. The Spokesman of the GOC Isa Tchiroma who reports on these criminal actions of Boko Haram has lately issued press statements on the activities of the GOC in the Southern Cameroons. An anxious reading and analysis of his press statements and the number of hostages and abductees he admitted, the court-martial of civilian leaders of Anglophones Consortium of Civil Societies Organization, the assault on the judicial power through the abduction of a Supreme Court Judge of Southern Cameroon’s nationality Hon Paul Ayah, and other acts of criminality mirror on the crimes he in the past reported and condemned against Boko Haram. The GOC has gone a step ahead of Boko Haram by joining the club of most oppressive governments worldwide which has used the suspension of internet facilities to conceal their elaborate criminal activities. The suspension of internet facilities in the Southern Cameroons with the complicity of foreign business operators in the country is a stain on the economic activities of those foreign firms. However, the suspension of the internet, a critical tool of learning in the technological age while imposing a return to schools the courts in the territory to parody the bastardized system of education and justice system imposed on the citizenry of the territory is a serious affront to human decency and commonsense. Furthermore, its forces deployed to the territory like Boko Haram are using rape as a state policy intended to humiliate and suppress Southern Cameroonians to submission.
Officials of the GOC, that included Ministers, and apologists of genocide and crimes against humanity, have made widely publicized statements justifying these crimes. One individual, a ruling CPDM party Senator publicly stated that he and another senior member of ruling CPDM party and Senator from the victim territory of the Southern Cameroons appealed to the GOC to place the internet ban in their own territory to collectively punish all Southern Cameroonians as well as conceal the crimes perpetrated against them from world attention. This act of impunity, and the glorification of the crimes perpetrated against the Southern Cameroons mirror the media antics of Abubakar Shakua the leader of the terrorist gang whose glorification of the crimes of Boko Haram are a fixture of deep pain on our collective consciences.
In spite of the provocations and the elaborate crimes committed against the people of the Southern Cameroons, the people have remained peaceful in their defiance and resistance. The Ghost town operations, the boycott of schools and the public symbols of oppression and colonial rule over the Southern Cameroons have dealt a humiliating blow to the forces of oppression of the GOC. The people of the Southern Cameroons have said No to emasculation! No to annexation! No to humiliation! No to exploitation! Yes to freedom. Yes to freedom now.
The world must take note that the GOC which is a supposed ally in the war against Boko Haram finds the need to talk to Boko Haram and pay ransom when its suits its needs and that of its imperial slave master France. When it comes to the case of the Southern Cameroons, it has opted to criminalize dialogue; even when organized by it. It is on record that the GOC took Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho and Dr Neba Fontem hostage and charged them before a court-martial on the basis of the matters that were tabled before a supposed dialogue organized by it for which there was no agreement. The court-martial of leaders who believed in dialogue and id participate in it to find a solution to our problems is one very powerful reason why La Republique du Cameroun should never ever be trusted. With their destiny in their hands the people of the Southern Cameroons must know that freedom can never ever be negotiated.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai
Cameroon Concord News Group