Southern Cameroons Crisis: Beginning of the End for Biya?
Actions by French President Macron and Defense Minister Joseph Beti Assomo this week have given a seal of approval to Ambazonian Restoration forces and could mark the beginning of the end of the Biya Francophone Beti Ewondo dictatorship that has ruled Cameroon for more than 35 years. Despite the fact that French president Emmanuel Macron all but confirmed the presence of French soldiers in Cameroon, the Biya regime denied that French soldiers were fighting in Southern Cameroons.
In the words of our senior contributing editor, Valerian Ekinneh Agbaw-Ebai, Defence Minister Joseph Beti Assomo told MPs that the Anglophone crisis is a Cameroonian problem that will be solved by Cameroonians. He denied the presence of any French soldier either in the SW or NW region an indication that Beti Assomo did not listen to President Macron during his live town hall in Nigeria, where he said, the goal of the French soldiers in Cameroon was to help re-establish “stability” in the Anglophone regions.
Top aides to the Acting President of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia, Dr. Samuel Ikome Sako and members of other Southern Cameroons restoration groups expect the process to gain independence for Southern Cameroons to be long, complicated and bloody. But they say that events in French Cameroun and President Biya’s succession palaver – once the symbol of Anti Southern Cameroons nationalism – will embolden Ambazonian forces and encourage key foreign countries such as Nigeria to turn decisively against the regime of President Biya.
The United States Senate has had a hearing on the happenings in Southern Cameroons and slowly but surely the Trump administration will agree to allow the Interim Government to open an office in Washington. German MPs have also been pressing for sanctions against the Biya crime syndicate and the SPD party is expected to call for deploying of monitors in Southern Cameroons.
A source in the Bundestag hinted this reporter that the intent of such a deployment would be to deter the Francophone dominated armed forces from killing more Southern Cameroonians and provide independent accounts of clashes with Ambazonian Restoration Forces when they occur. With French government support, it is highly unlikely, however, that the consortium of CPDM crime syndicate headed by the 85 year old Biya would allow monitors into the country after killing more than 1000 Southern Cameroonians since 2016.
The Southern Cameroons opposition to the Interim Government of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia has yet to unify as most South Sudanese did during their struggle for independence. The externally-based Morisc and an obscure organization known as ADF are at odds with the Interim Government.
French Cameroun opposition to Biya including the much respected NOW Movement of Barrister Akere Muna have said the only thing they want to negotiate with Biya is the manner and timing of his departure. Several members of the Cameroon government military have already defected, with many escaping to the Ivory Coast.
The Biya regime’s genocidal campaign in Southern Cameroons is being carried out largely by soldiers from the North and Far North regions and the Presidential Guard – both largely comprised of members of the Beti Ewondo minority. The commanders are predominantly Beti- Ewondo.
Fear of Cameroon devolving into a multi-sided civil war among its numerous ethnic components was a major factor during the President Buhari-Macron meeting in Abuja. But Yaoundé is yet to stop the shooting of innocent Southern Cameroonians.
Over the past few weeks, Biya who lacks the strategic finesse of his legendary political god father, the late Ahmadou Ahidjo – has managed to alienate most of his once ardent CEMAC backers, including President Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea who has reportedly chosen the path to dialogue for his country than excessive use of force.
Recently, a senior French Cameroun political elite told our Yaoundé correspondent, that Biya should see the tragic ends of the ones who declared war against their own people. The MP who hails from the Obala constituency also added that if he were in President Biya’s shoes, he would step down. The American Ambassador Peter Barlerin has also called for Biya to leave and an immediate end to the violence in Southern Cameroons.
Pressure from Paris forced the regime in Yaoundé to allow family members and a group of legal practitioners to meet with the detained Interim President of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and nine others who were arrested in Nera hotel in Abuja but there were no indications that France, which virtually owns La Republique du Cameroun, was ready to break with the Biya regime.
The main Nigerian opposition party, the PDP has said it will keep the military option open to convince Biya to step down.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai