The Cameroon minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma, has finally ended speculation about Nigeria’s extradition of the President of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia, Ayuk Tabe, along with some other 46 Southern Cameroonians to Yaounde where they are expected to be judged according to the laws of the Republic of Cameroon. News about their extradition has been the subject of debates and analyses over the weekend and this has resulted in increased tension both in Yaounde and Southern Cameroons, with many Southern Cameroonians vowing to fight on despite their leaders’ detention in Yaounde.
Speaking in Yaounde on Monday, January 29, 2018, a subdued Tchiroma said the arrested Southern Cameroonians would be judged in accordance with the law. This therefore implies that lawyers will be granted access to the detainees and their identities will be established. Though the information has been made official, many across the globe still doubt the government’s version and argue that the same government has been manipulative and deceptive for many decades and it will be hard to believe its version.
However, despite the sad news, many Southern Cameroonians argue that the battle must continue as the revolution is bigger than any single individual. Speaking to a dejected Southern Cameroonian in WashingtonDC over the phone, our West African Bureau chief was advised that the revolution was an idea that would not be crushed through intimidation and military violence. The Southern Cameroonian, who elected anonymity, added that things only escalated when Felix Nkongh Agbor Balla, Fontem Neba and Macho Bibixy were arrested and that the current situation would only escalate attacks on the military.
He argued that Nelson Mandela was in jail for over three decades, but South Africans did not relent in their effort to unseat the racist bastion that had reduced them to second-class citizens in their own country. He said Southern Cameroonians would, over the coming days, designate their new leaders and would be informing the boys on ground on what steps to follow.
Also speaking from London, Sesekou Asu Isong, said that Southern Cameroonians should not believe that they could attain their objective without loss of life and imprisonment. He stressed that “freedom has never been attained through courteousness and gentlemanliness, adding that loss of life is and has always been part of such a struggle.”
He called on Southern Cameroonians to pour money and energy into the struggle. “As it is apparent that we are now in an armed struggle, we have a duty to pour money and energy into this cause. We have a duty to arm and train young determined fighters on the ground. If we don’t, the lives of the departed and those in incarceration would have been a waste,” he stressed.
Mr. Isong’s point of view ties in well with what is currently happening in many Southern Cameroons community across the globe. It is worth stressing that huge fundraising efforts are currently underway in most Western capitals. Southern Cameroonians across the globe are making significant financial contributions to support the tough Southern Cameroonian fighters who have become a nightmare to government forces in Southern Cameroons. In California alone, more than half a million dollars was raised last week to secure more aid and arms for the boys who are determined to roll back government forces that have been deployed across Southern Cameroons.
Also writing from Boston in the United States, Mr. EkinnehAgbaw-ebai, a graduate of the prestigious Harvard University, pointed out that “Irrespective of whatever anyone thinks, let it be said again with emphasis that Ambazonia will never die. Ambazonia is a spirit which animates our yearning for freedom and even if Biya kills all eight million Anglophones and raze all our villages, our ghosts shall rise from our graves to seek freedom and demand justice. Mandela was jailed, but the ANC continued until Apartheid was defeated. Bin Laden is dead, but that has not stopped Al Qaeda; rather ISIS was born. If Biya sincerely believes, as he claims, that a majority of Anglophones want to remain in bondage and servitude in a united Cameroon, let him organize a referendum. Voting should take place only in Anglophone regions under international supervision as was the case in 1961,” he pointed out angrily.
It should be noted that Mr. Ayuk Tabe had said that the struggle was his life and that he was prepared and willing to lay down his life for the total liberation of Southern Cameroons, though he has always advocated non-violence. Many Southern Cameroonians are of that opinion and there are many meetings currently taking place across the globe to step up the pressure on the government.
It is also worth noting that Mr. Cho Ayaba, the man who leads the military wing of the Southern Cameroons struggle, had earlier called for the fighters on the ground to step up military actions against government troops following the arrest of Southern Cameroonian leaders in Nigeria and the attacks have increased significantly across the entire Southern Cameroons. Cameroon military personnel have in recent days been attacked and killed in various cities in Southern Cameroons and as late as today, some of them were attacked in Bangem in the Kupe Manogouba Division in the South West region where even the senior divisional officer was taken hostage.
Currently, there are reports that following Mr. Tchiroma’s announcement, there have been heavy gun fire in several villages in Manyu Division which is the birth place of Mr. AyukTabe who is revered and loved by his people. The days ahead would be challenging for Cameroon as many Southern Cameroonians are yet to accept that their leaders are in jail in Yaounde.
Meanwhile, many young fighters who have flooded refugee camps in Nigeria are already indicating their intention to return to the jungle to continue operations as advised by Mr. Cho Aya more than two weeks ago. Today’s statement by Mr. Tchiroma has fired many of them up. Speaking to Cameroon Concord News Group on Monday, January 29, a young Southern Cameroonian fighter who unexpectedly showed up in Abuja said the fighters needed more sophisticated war machines so as to take the fight to the enemy.
He pointed out that with rudimentary equipment, the fighters had given government troops in Manyu Division a run for their money, adding that sophisticated equipment would enable them to post more impressive results. “We are ready to turn that country into a huge fire ball. Southern Cameroonians have been marginalized for more than five decades and the government is refusing to acknowledge this. Since the government thinks it cannot dialogue with our leaders, we are determined to split the country so as to put an end to the marginalization that has brought death and destruction to our parents,” he said, adding that “once we lay our hands on sophisticated war machines like AK-47s, we will be able to get into the Littoral and West regions where we would be able to create hordes of refugees; a situation that will surely catch the attention of the international community.” “We are not scared of death and we have been informed that our brothers in the Diaspora are raising funds to ensure we get the tools for our job. This is a huge challenge and it requires a huge tool box,” he stressed.
It has been reported that some three hundred government troops have already been sent to an early grave since Ambazonian Tigers decided to take up arms against a regime that is tone deaf to calls for an inclusive and sincere dialogue. As a response to the losses, the government has decided to deploy more troops to the regions. But many analysts hold that the more troops the government deploys, the more targets it creates for the fighters. The situation in the two Anglophone regions is getting more complex by the day.
Currently, there are more than five militia groups operating in many parts of Southern Cameroons and this is troubling to the international community that is already seeing the phenomenon of warlords playing out in Cameroon. It should be recalled that Somalia that has been a hotspot for more than three decades went through a similar situation like the one unfolding in Cameroon following the ousting of the country’s dictator, Said Barre, in the eighties.
Today’s statement by the country’s communication minister sounds like a huge victory for the beleaguered government of Mr. Paul Biya, but the days ahead seem to be gloomy and the road ahead is bumpy. It will be too soon for the government to cry victory. The Southern Cameroons revolution is like a hydra. You may be happy that you have cut off its head, but it is confident it will grow a new one. Mr. Biya and his government must agree that dialogue holds out more hope. Arresting people and dumping them in jail or killing innocent civilians just to send home a strong message will not address the issue. There are more than seven million Southern Cameroonians, and many are already lining up to take on the mantle of leadership.
The Southern Cameroonian Diaspora is wealthy, and it will continue to destabilize the government if the government does not work hard to make peace with it. After more than one year of a bloody contention, the Yaounde government should understand that Southern Cameroonians will not be surrendering anytime soon.
A Cameroon Concord News Production