French Cameroun’s military is heavily deployed in the new state of Southern Cameroons and few people are on the streets after dozens were killed over the weekend in protests in support of independence for Southern Cameroons territory.
Tens of thousands of Southern Cameroonians hoisted flags Sunday to show they want independence from the Cameroon’s French-speaking majority, defying security forces and bans for gathering in some areas.
Security forces shot dead scores of people in Southern Cameroons during gatherings on the 56th anniversary of the incorporation of British Southern Cameroonians into Cameroon. Amnesty International has expressed worry over the Francophone government’s “ongoing campaign to silence any form of dissent.” The Francophone authorities on Friday banned meetings and travel for 72 hours.
Amnesty called on French Cameroun security forces to cease unnecessary violence and called on protesters to be peaceful. “The worrying escalation witnessed over the weekend has now reached a crisis point. The use of excessive force to silence protests in the west and southwest regions of Cameroon is not the solution,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International’s Lake Chad researcher. “All deaths related to these protests must be promptly and effectively investigated.”
Local media had reported more than a dozen people killed in Southern Cameroons, some shot by military helicopters, while 100 other arrested, according to local media. Six soldiers were attacked and severely wounded, reports said.
No declarations were made by the Southern Cameroons Ambazonia Governing Council, but protests have been ongoing since late last year with the population Southern Cameroons saying it is discriminated against by the majority French-speaking population.
Social media platforms such as WhatsApp have been blocked in Southern Cameroons and residents express fear about restrictions imposed by the Biya Francophone Beti Ewondo government. In Yaounde and all major towns in the French Cameroun, political parties, lawmakers and the government including every association within the consortium of the ruling CPDM crime syndicate organized rallies denouncing Southern Cameroonians.