The month of October will forever be remembered in Cameroon not just because it is the month in which the trust territory of Southern Cameroons achieved its independence, but the month in which Cameroon as a nation was plunged into chaos that might never end.
But before the Cameroon Concord News Group delves into the analysis of the chaos playing out in the two English-speaking regions of the country, it would like to extend its congratulations to the people of former West Cameroon on the attainment of their independence which was captured by the Yaounde government and transformed into a nightmare that will not be ending anytime soon.
In remembrance of October 1, 1961, the recognized Interim Government’s Vice President, Dabney Yerima, wished the people of Southern Cameroons happy celebrations. He used the occasion to remind the population of the importance of the day, urging the people to protect their territory.
He also used the occasion to congratulate the fighters on the ground on their spectacular victories which have left the country’s military and government with bloodshot eyes.
Over the last two months, Southern Cameroonian fighters have demonstrated that they are a force to reckon with and their back to back victories over the poorly trained Yaounde government’s military is gradually triggering a tectonic shift in the thinking of the country’s French-speaking majority.
Vice president Yerima also expressed his sympathy with the Southern Cameroonian population regarding the irresponsible and reckless lockdown declared by some members of the Southern Cameroonian Diaspora who simply want to remain relevant in a conflict that has exposed their greed and ulterior motives.
Since the commencement of this avoidable conflict, close to 4,000 army soldiers and special forces have been killed in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions, with some 3,000 maimed and disabled due to the senseless fighting.
Also speaking to the people of Southern Cameroons on the occasion of their independence was Dr. Ikome Sako of the erstwhile interim government which has lost its popularity and the people’s confidence.
Dressed in a police uniform of the Yaounde crime syndicate, Dr. Ikome Sako, who looked more as a police officer and whose speech problems have been carefully documented, succeeded to thank the fighters on the ground for their brilliant success, urging them to keep the pressure on the beleaguered Yaounde government.
His Yaounde government police uniform has left many in doubt about his loyalty to the people of Southern Cameroons. Many Southern Cameroonians think he is in cahoots with the Yaounde government which has already killed more than 15,000 Southern Cameroonians in a war that lacks a raison d’etre.
Meanwhile, in East Cameroon, the population and government are in fear as Southern Cameroonians peacefully celebrate their much-cherished independence.
The Yaounde government has deployed soldiers in all major cities of the country in fear of what might happen. For over one week now, the country’s uniformed officers have not been having a good night’s sleep as it has been decreed that on October 1 or days preceding the independence day celebrations, Southern Cameroonian fighters might cross the Mungo to wreak havoc in cities in East Cameroon.
The fighters’ ability to manufacture bombs and IEDs has struck fear in the government’s mind. Six months ago, a delegation from China and the United States had trained the fighters to put together IEDs and this is a huge threat to the Yaounde government.
Rumor and fear are spreading in East Cameroon to the effect that large markets and shopping malls will soon come under attack as Southern Cameroons agents have been trained to deliver these deadly weapons to such soft targets in order to mount pressure on the government.
According to a fighter who elected anonymity, a rain of explosions will soon be falling on towns such as Douala, Dschang, Baffoussam and others.
“We will be changing the dynamics in the days ahead. We want to take the war and misery to East Cameroon where the people have been indifferent to the sorry plight of Southern Cameroonians. In Southern Cameroons, we have succeeded to sow fear in the police, soldiers and gendarmes and we want to replicate this in East Cameroon,” the fighter said.
The humiliating defeat of the military in many parts of Southern Cameroons has created mobid fear in the minds of the corrupt government officials who are clearly seeing the writing on the wall.
Speaking to the Cameroon Concord News Group’s Paris correspondent on September 30, 2021, at midnight Cameroon time, a senior gendarmarie officer said that for days he had not been sleeping in his house because he, like many officers of his corps, has been deployed in many parts of Douala, especially at the seaport which is heavily guarded because it is believed that Southern Cameroonian fighters might attack the seaport considered as a den of corruption by many Cameroonians.
“We have not been sleeping for days as the government holds that Southern Cameroonian fighters have a plan to storm the seaport. There is total panic within the military and within government circles. Southern Cameroonian fighters have changed the game. Their use of IEDs to kill soldiers has changed the way Francophones see the conflict,” the senior officier who elected anonymity said.
“Southern Cameroonian fighters have succeeded to instill fear in the government. In the military, many of my colleagues are trembling. The deaths of many colleagues has demoralized the young soldiers and thousands are contemplating quitting the military for good,” he added.
“He highlighted that if the government did not hold out an olive branch sooner rather than later, it might lose everything in Southern Cameroons. The odds are stacked up against the government. The fighting has left the towns and cities of Southern Cameroons for the forest and the roads leading to the towns and the fighters who started out with machetes and hunting rifles are now clearly having an upper hand.”
To make their independence day celebrations more interesting, Southern Cameroonians fighters on September 30 killed some soldiers in kumbo in a humiliating manner, taking with them, the soldiers’ weapons and uniforms.
It should be recalled that October is not only the month of independence for Southern Cameroons, but a month wherein the conflict with the Yaounde government started. October 16, 2016, is a day that Southern Cameroonians will always remember as it changed their lives.
Years of marginalization by the government finally resulted in huge demonstrations across the country’s two English-speaking regions, resulting in the killing of many innocent civilians and citizens.
The events of October 2016 shattered Cameroon’s image as an oasis of peace in a desert of chaos. Many lives have been lost and ruined and confidence in the Yaounde government has evaporated.
The government has been humiliated and reduced. Its tough approach to the Southern Cameroons crisis has not only hurt the country’s image, it has resulted in a loss of life that is in many minds unpardonable.
The government like the separatists has remained frozen in its position and this is making it a lot more challenging to put an end to this conflict that has clearly hurt the country’s economy.
As Southern Cameroonians celebrate their independence today, they should always remember that the enemy is still strong, very manipulative and dangerous, though it has taken many punches to the liver.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai