Southern Cameroons Crisis: A deal should involve withdrawal of French Cameroun forces and removal of President Biya from office
The Republic of Cameroon under President Biya lost the title of “One and Indivisible” long ago. It has suffered tribalism, corruption, nepotism, state terrorism, ritual killings, police violence and abject poverty. But none of this compares with the destruction being inflicted on Southern Cameroonians today by a war orchestrated by the 85 year-old dictator, President Paul Biya.
The UN says some 40, 000 Southern Cameroonians have fled the crisis into neighboring Nigeria and are in need of some kind of humanitarian aid. The territory now known as the Federal Republic of Ambazonia is on the brink of collapse. The Interim Government of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia has announced to the world and its powerful Diaspora that the Ambazonian economy has crumbled, leaving Southern Cameroonians with impossible choices. Each day hospitals in the various counties are crowded with bodies of Southern Cameroons civilians killed by French Cameroun soldiers.
The worst of it is that the African Union, the UN and the powerful European Union seem unperturbed. Southern Cameroons has been a French Cameroun colony for 57 years under the direct supervision of successive French governments and the territory has not produce great African voices like Wole Soyinka, Desmond Tutu and Kofi Anan to make known their case as it concerns French Cameroun rule in Southern Cameroons. This explains why the AU, the EU and the UN are ignoring Southern Cameroons.
Interestingly, the West including the United States of America is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the 85 year-old French Cameroun dictator who has been in power for 35 years and Biya is waging his war against Southern Cameroonians with Western war helicopters and munitions.
The war in Southern Cameroons has become more intractable with some political observers saying the Anglophones are too weak to rule over a united Cameroon but too powerful for the French Cameroun army to defeat. This week, President Paul Biya fired General Melingui Nouma as commander of French Cameroun forces in the Southern Zone of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia and replaced him with a little known figure in the military, Colonel Djotsa. Indeed, Colonel Djotsa has much to learn from his predecessor’s experience that even with the most sophisticated weapons, it is all but impossible to defeat a resistance that is well entrenched in a civilian population. The international community will always blame the stronger side for the pain of civilians. For the weaker lot, survival is victory. This is the current state of affairs in Southern Cameroons.
Consequently, even though the Biya Francophone regime keeps claiming that Southern Cameroonians started the war, the leadership of the Southern Cameroons Interim Government in the USA has accused the government in Yaoundé of war crimes. Often the accusation is justified. In their French Cameroun military campaign, they have been careless and incompetent. Francophone troops have attacked schools, markets, Christian churches and leaders including hospitals. They have burnt down towns and villages in both the Northern and Southern Zones of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia.
The French government has accorded President Paul Biya “plein pouvoir’ or a kind of carte blanche to act recklessly. President Emmanuel Macron may be thinking that it is all part of guaranteeing French hegemony in Southern Cameroons; or he may hope to profit by selling the Biya regime lots of old French military equipment and protect the oil fields in Southern Cameroons. Whatever the case, President Macron is damaging French’s interests and if President Buhari of Nigeria falls, the French will not be happy with the end results in Southern Cameroons. The Southern Cameroons war is an unwinnable war.
Dialogue with the Biya regime is unrealistic. A deal should involve a complete withdrawal of all French Cameroun forces and administrators from Southern Cameroons and the removal of President Biya and his ruling CPDM crime syndicate from office including holding of elections and creating a new political structure. French Cameroun and Southern Cameroons will then need an inclusive negotiation to be chaired by the United Nations. None of this will be easy. But a reasonable peace offer coming from a decent and new French Cameroun leader is more likely to crack the Ambazonian Interim Government than the reckless military campaign. We of the Cameroon Concord News Group are submitting that if wars are to be fought at all, they should be short, and have limited aims. This so-called President Biya’s war against Southern Cameroonians seems to be going nowhere.
Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai