Southern Cameroons-Ambazonia Completely Destroyed: Francophone army soldiers are overseeing and directly participating in massacres, summary executions of civilians
The Biya Francophone regime in Yaoundé is directly responsible for crimes against humanity in English speaking Cameroon now known as the Federal Republic of Ambazonia. The Francophone dominated government; its military and the French Cameroun elite force also known as the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) including the National Gendarmerie Service and Amba Boys the Yaoundé regime arms and supports have committed numerous atrocities on the civilian populations in the entire Southern Cameroons.
The Francophone soldiers deployed to Southern Cameroons are overseeing and directly participating in massacres, summary executions of civilians-including women and children – burnings of towns and villages, and the forcible depopulation of wide swathes of land long inhabited by the people of Akwaya in Manyu, Aghem in Menchum and Nso in Bui. The Cameroon government army has killed several Roman Catholic priests, An American Missionary and a sea of Christian Pastors.
The Biya government and its Amba Boys have killed thousands of Southern Cameroonians – often in cold blood, raped women, and destroyed villages, food stocks and other supplies essential to the civilian population. They have driven close to a hundred thousand Southern Cameroons civilians, mostly farmers, into camps in neighboring Nigeria where they live on the very edge of survival. More than half a million have fled into the bushes but the vast majority of war victims remain trapped inside French Cameroun cities such as Douala, Baffoussam and Yaoundé.
This conflict has international historical roots but escalated some three years ago when the Biya regime used excessive force on Anglophone teachers and lawyers who were demanding an abrupt halt to chronic economic marginalization, respect for the Anglo-Saxon system of education and the Common Law. They also sought government action to end Francophone dominance in Anglophone districts.
The Biya Francophone regime responded to the ‘lawyers-teachers’ demands by targeting the Southern Cameroons civilian populations. The Yaoundé government brazenly engaged in its policy of manipulation by reintroducing the North West/South West Divide tactics which was designed to put the Anglophones of Bantu and semi Bantu extraction at daggers-drawn positions with the Anglophones of the Grass field known as the Tikars. The Francophone military was deployed in their thousands to Southern Cameroons and President Biya, backed by French Cameroun elites of his ruling CPDM crime syndicate has been providing effective impunity for all the crimes they are committing.
The Cameroon government army partnership with what is now known as the Atanga Nji Amba Boys is characterized by joint attacks on civilians rather than on the Ambazonia Restoration Forces. These attacks are staged to force the Southern Cameroons population to develop a kind of trust on the Francophone regime in Yaoundé.
All Cameroon government attacks in Southern Cameroons towns and villages have decimated farming communities, with death tolls estimated by the Ambazonia leader President Sisiku Ayuk Tabe as more than 20,000 with most unrecorded.
The Roman Catholic and the Presbyterian Churches that were in a better position to document abuses in rural areas previously well-populated like Kembong in Manyu, Fontem in Lebialem, Wum in Menchum, Jakiri in Bui and Ndop have withdrawn several revered fathers and Pastors due to killings and kidnappings sponsored by the Francophone regime in Yaoundé. The leadership of these two strong Christian churches has been also consistently inconsistent with their positions ever since the beginning of the conflict.
With some few exceptions, the rural areas in Southern Cameroons are now empty. Everything that can sustain life – houses, livestock, food stores, TV and radio sets have been looted or destroyed by Francophone soldiers. Villages all over Southern Cameroons have been torched not randomly, but systematically – often not once, but twice.
The huge Francophone army presence sometimes with helicopters in the burned rural areas, and in burned and abandoned villages, has driven Southern Cameroons civilians into the bushes and the poorly paid and badly fed troops who speak only the French language kill, rape, and pillage – even stealing emergency relief items – with impunity.
Despite international calls for investigations into allegations of gross human rights abuses in Southern Cameroons, the regime in Yaoundé backed by Francophone African diplomats deep within the African Union headed by Chad’s Moussa Faki and the French government of President Emmanuel Macron has responded by denying any abuses while attempting to manipulate and stem information leaks.
Yaoundé has strategically been keeping an Anglophone as prime minister and head of government with no powers than to read from scripts provided by the Biya Francophone regime. The Prime Minister’s role is to limit reports from Southern Cameroons in the national press, restrict international media access to Southern Cameroons and host UN, Francophinie, Commonwealth and African Union leaders in five star hotels in the nation’s capital Yaoundé and both former prime minister Philemon Yang and now Dr Dion Ngute have tried to obstruct the flow of Southern Cameroons refugees into Nigeria and Francophone Cameroun.
For close to four years into the conflict, no high-level UN or European Union assessment team has been permitted to enter Southern Cameroons. The 86 year old President Paul Biya and his gang of French Cameroun political elites have promised unhindered humanitarian access, but have failed to deliver.
With counterfeit municipal and parliamentary elections coming up in February 2020, the Biya regime has reportedly intensified its genocidal campaign and continuing human rights abuses in Southern Cameroons. The United States government has cut Cameroon from a trade pact over allegations of human rights violations.
President Donald Trump said the West African nation failed to address concerns over its “persistent gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” allegedly committed by Cameroon’s security forces.
The US also cut more than $17 million in security aid and support to Cameroon in February over concerns about its human rights record. And lately, 9 US lawmakers wrote to President Biya urging the dictator to seek a peaceful end to the conflict in Southern Cameroons.
Thousands of Southern Cameroons civilians could die in the bushes from lack of food and from disease within the next six months.
The international community, which so far has been very slow to exert all possible pressure on the Biya Francophone Beti Ewondo regime to reverse the ethnic cleansing and end the associated crimes against humanity it has carried out, must act now.
President Donald Trump should take urgent measures to ensure the protection of Ambazonian civilians, decree the unrestricted delivery of humanitarian assistance and reverse ethnic cleansing in Southern Cameroons. It will soon be too late.
By Asu Isong and Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai