Over the last two weeks, a lot has been happening in Yaoundé. The pressure from the United Nations and the United States has triggered a flurry of activities in the nation’s capital and despite their best efforts, the ruling CPDM, popularly known as the crime syndicate that has been made of the mold as the Sicilian Mafia, has been working hard to foster its negative ideas that have put the country in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
The immediate cause of the Southern Cameroons crisis was the use of French in Southern Cameroonian schools and courts, and for three years now, the protest that was started by lawyers and teachers has actually morphed into a full blown civil war that has already consumed more than 5,000 lives, including some 2,000 army soldiers.
In normal circumstances, the effort would be to appease the English-speaking minority with a view to restoring peace, but Cameroon’s authorities are hell-bent on seeing more blood flood the streets of Southern Cameroons.
Soldiers have been on their regular killing spree. Killing has become their stock in trade and over the last weeks, more than 100 Southern Cameroonians have been killed by trigger-happy, sex-starved and alcohol-inflamed soldiers sent by the Minister of Defense, Joseph Beti Assomo, to kill as many Southern Cameroonians as possible before Americans and the United Nations come in.
In Mankon, in the North West Region, a small family was put through excruciating pain a few days agao when two brothers were pulled out of their house and shot point blank by army soldiers. The soldiers walked away as if nothing had happened. They have become inured to killing to the point where human life has no meaning to them.
In Bamanda, the North-west regional capital, an American working for the United Nations and who has elected anonymity, has reported that a deaf man was killed in cold-blood when soldiers on their way to a killing site saw a deaf Southern Cameroonian wearing hearing aid which they mistook for espionage equipment.
They tore down the hearing aid, making it impossible for the deaf man to even understand them and, of course, they were speaking in a foreign language. When they started raining questions on him, he could not hear, so he could not answer any of their questions. The soldiers beat the living day light out of the deaf man and lodged a few bullets into his chest.
In their view, the deaf man was spying for the Southern Cameroonian fighters who have given government troops a run for their money. This has become a daily show in most of Southern Cameroons.
In Mutengene, a small vibrant town some 4 miles from the Southwestern regional capital, Buea, soldiers loyal to the country’s president, Paul Biya, pulled out four able-bodied young men from their home and sent them to an early grave.
Killing innocent civilians is now a sport in Southern Cameroons and this has only radicalized many people in the two English-speaking regions, with the Diaspora delivering much-needed financial and military assistance for the civilians to defend themselves.
This self-defense initiative has in three years sent some 2,000 army soldiers to the world beyond and this is not fazing the government which sees military violence as the only solution even after three years of fighting with no significant results.
The latest killing of soldiers occurred yesterday, December 12, 2019 in Widikum in the Northwest region where three Special Forces were ambushed and killed. Seven others had fallen a day before in the Northwest region and one would think such unfortunate situations will cause a change in the government’s strategy, especially as the international community is breathing heavily down its neck.
The Biya government seems to be intent on destroying the country before it ever leaves and each of its actions only makes secession possible. The Parliament is seriously supporting the executive branch of government by passing into law bills that will only push Southern Cameroonians further away from East Cameroon.
Today, it is possible for Francophone magistrates to try Southern Cameroonians in a language many Southern Cameroonians deem foreign. This was one of the triggers of the conflict and the government has decided to pour more gasoline into a burning house.
Southern Cameroonian lawyers are against that and they have clearly articulated their disagreement in a letter to the justice minister, Laurent Esso, himself one of the architects and enablers of the crisis that has pushed the country’s economy further into the abyss.
But one question remains. Can Francophone magistrates be that bold to sit in courts in Southern Cameroons when many armed groups are kidnapping and killing government officials in the two English-speaking regions of the country?
With insecurity attaining unprecedented levels in that part of the country, won’t it preposterous for a Francophone magistrate to accept to play such a role in an environment where there are more guns than bread?
Due to the government’s indifference to the plight of the people, Southern Cameroonians now see security forces more as enemies than friends, making it hard for them to help security forces in their search for civilian criminals, as there are also military criminals.
A source in Kumba has lamented that both the military and criminal elements who pass off as Amba boys are now threatening young girls that their entire families will be killed if they do not come to specific locations to have sex with them.
The young women who are in their early 20s actually have no options and they have been yielding to this pressure. Many have been infected with HIV and thousands have been impregnated by these criminal elements who have made life unbearable to the local population.
The people are helpless. The government’s recklessness is not helping matters. Its indifference and military violence are only making things worse. Young women are paying a huge price for a situation they have never bargained for.
The madness is spreading very fast and it will soon become a way of life if the government does not change its ways. The government might be playing games. It might think it is scoring some points, but it is the future of the country and that of its young men and women that are being ruined by a government run by a bunch of old people. The old people are simply a wet blanket over the country and until they are taken out of the system, Cameroon will never be one and indivisible.
The madness looks really serious and there are questions as to whether it can be cured. Of course, it is curable and it is up to Cameroonians, especially those in East Cameroon whose lack of courage has emboldened the government in its tragic-comedy that is keeping the international community awake all night.
By Dr Joachim Arrey