The fighting in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions has entered a new phase. After more than two years, Southern Cameroonian fighters have finally got a good arms shipment that may wreak more havoc on government forces.
The fighters, who have been using den guns, have finally received their cherished weapon, the AK-47, and they have been celebrating. The shipment, which came through Nigeria’s Niger Delta, has already brought down more than ten army soldiers in the North West region alone.
The news about the arms shipment was delivered to the Cameroon Concord News Group’s global headquarters in the United Kingdom by a member of the armed separatist group’s inner cycle in a telephone interview.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the fighter who identified himself as Captain Destroyer said they had had been longing for these weapons and now that they have them, they would make Southern Cameroonians proud.
“We have been dreaming of this day. The government’s fire power has been superior because of the type of weapons its soldiers have. We will be reversing things now that we have got this weapon of mass destruction known around the world as AK-47. With our den guns, we have succeeded to bring down more than 1,300 army soldiers. I think they are in for real trouble. We are very happy with the efforts of our brothers in the Diaspora, especially the efforts of the Interim Government that is not relenting in his efforts to ensure that we liberate our land,” Captain Destroyer said.
“We will keep them busy. They have been working hard over the last two years just to keep us in check. With this weapon, we will tell them that we can make them bite the dust. We know they have killed many of our people. We have seen many houses being burnt. Some of our people have been roasted. But we are not giving in. We must revenge the deaths of our brothers,” he added.
“We are still looking forward to having more sophisticated weapons. The country has very porous borders and their so-called soldiers are poor and easy to corrupt. Many of them are tired and scared of dying. We will deliver them a huge surprise very soon. If we lay our hands on bombs, they will regret a lot. We have seen blood. I have seen comrades being mowed down by army soldiers and this has transformed me into a beast. I am prepared to die, after all, my fate is worse than death,” he stressed.
“In the days ahead, you will be having a huge surprise. Some of our Francophone brothers have crossed the Mungo to join us and they want to take death to their own people. We are still suspicious of them, so we have sent them to Nigeria for training,” he said, adding that “many of them want to engage in sabotage that will bring the government to its knees. The tables are slowly turning. Mr. Biya and his people are in for trouble. They will soon be fighting a war on many fronts. Our partners from East Cameroon say their response will come in the form of a mushroom cloud and they will make sure civilian casualties are minimized,” he said.
“If Mr. Biya thinks it is all over because he has been sworn in, then he is deceiving himself. It is not Prof. Kamto who will be his nightmare, but the population. They may look docile, but when the time comes, the government will not recognize the same people who seem to have been intimidated into silence,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the fighting has intensified in Kumbo, Bui County, with Southern Cameroonian soldiers destroying all bridges as news is spreading that army soldiers are advancing towards Kumbo. It is therefore challenging now to travel from Kumbo to Bamenda, as the number of checkpoints has increased.
Southern Cameroonian fighters have advised the population in Kumbo to head to the bushes as they prepare for a showdown with army soldiers. The fighters are excited to use their new weapons and they have promised hell to Mr. Biya’s struggling army.
Also, there have been many raids on the homes of Southern Cameroonians living in Yaounde. Many of those suspected by the soldiers have been arrested and taken to unknown destinations. Many Southern Cameroonians who had escaped to Yaounde during the election are already fleeing the capital city due to these raids and high cost of living.
The raids in Yaounde are being orchestrated by Beti soldiers and this has become their stock in trade. They have been arresting young Southern Cameroonians for cash and each person arrested is asked to pay CFAF 200,000 before he is released. Mr. Biya’s army has found a new way to make money and this trade seems to be netting the soldiers lots of cash, especially as the government is looking the other way.
Though Mr. Biya has been sworn in as the country’s president, it is clear that he is not having a good night’s sleep. Cameroon, which was once touted as a safe sanctuary for many people fleeing violence in their countries, has become a dangerous place for its own citizens, especially those who challenge Mr. Biya’s authority.
Journalists in particular have become the government’s fair target. Few days ago, a popular Equinox TV news anchor, Mimi Mefo, was arrested for sharing information indicating that the American missionary, Charles Trumann Wesco, was killed by government troops. This has prompted her arrest and she is currently in the New Bell Maximum Security prison in Douala where she is awaiting trial in a military court.
Mr. Wesco died in October after being shot in the head amid fighting between armed separatists and soldiers in the country’s north-west region, the director of the regional hospital said. Mr. Wesco, a missionary from the U.S. state of Indiana who had been in the region for two weeks, was rushed to the hospital in Bamenda after he was gravely wounded while in his car, hospital director Kingue Thomson Njie said.
From every indication, Cameroon seems to be in a tight spot. The insecurity is increasing by the day and this is driving away investors who are averse to insecurity. Last week, some 78 children were kidnapped by gun men and, ever since, the armed separatists and the government have been blaming each other for the kidnapping.
The kidnapped children in Southern Cameroons said their captors had warned them not to go back to school, recounting their ordeal as parents on Thursday packed up belongings from a boarding school now being shuttered.
The kidnappers freed about 80 school children and a driver in west Cameroon on Wednesday, but kept hold of a principal and one teacher, two days after snatching them in a school raid. The armed men had seized the kids on Monday in Bamenda – a green city nestled in the hills of Southern Cameroons and hub of the country’s troubled English-speaking region.
Cameroon is now in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. If it is not the armed struggle in the two English-speaking regions that is hitting the headlines, it is the insecurity born out of this unfortunate situation that has resulted in the killing of more than 4,000 people, including some 1,500 army soldiers that is giving the country a very bad name.
After more than two years of chaos in the restive regions, the government still holds that only a military solution can help bring peace to the beleaguered country. Despite calls for an inclusive dialogue by the international community, the government has continued to pursue its military operations in the region, though with limited success.
Many parts of the English-speaking regions are under the control of the separatists and schools have been closed for more than two years, with many of the students moving to the French-speaking part of the country to seek education.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai in Yaounde
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