The Southern Cameroons crisis that started in 2016 has taking a turn for the worse, as the Yaounde government has triggered its genocide mode.
On Friday, Febrauary 14, 2020, army soldiers committed their worst human rights crimes by murdering over 38 women and children in Cameroon’s English-Speaking community of Ngarbuh in Donga Mantung Division in the North West region.
Most of the victims, many of whom are pregnant women and toddlers, were either burned alive or shot dead by Cameroon government soldiers.
The initial reports early on Friday put the figure at 30, but by Saturday, more corpses were recovered in the bushes, pushing the number to close to 40.
Despite the outrage triggered by the inhuman killing of toddlers and pregnant women, the Yaounde government has remained silent about the killings which are not the first of their kind in the two English-speaking regions of the country, where an insurgency has been unfolding over the last three years.
Southern Cameroonian armed groups calling for the total liberation of their homeland have met with a violent reaction from the Yaounde government led by its 87-year-old dictator, Paul Biya, who has rejected calls by the international community for an inclusive dialogue that will restore peace to the once-upon-a time oasis of peace in a desert of chaos.
Since winning another term in office through foul means in 2018, Mr. Biya who has led the country for almost 38 years and has only succeeded to run the economy aground has vowed that there will never be any inclusive dialogue as long as he is in power.
In a response to the calls for an inclusive dialogue, the corrupt and inefficient Yaounde government hastily organized a major national dialogue which was everything but major, and promptly fabricated its own Diaspora which attended the unrecognized event and called for a special status for the country’s two English-speaking regions.
From every indication, it is clear that the special status called for death to all Southern Cameroonians living in the two English-speaking regions of the country.
The killing of more than 35 civilians on Friday by army soldiers comprising mostly of people of Beti extraction in a state-sponsored and pre-meditated genocide, has drawn condemnation from across the globe, including a call from the United Nations for a thorough and impartial investigation.
This callous act of unprecedented savagery commandeered by the country’s defense minister, Joseph Beti Assomo, has left the world in total shock, with the Trump Administration mulling sanctions against the Yaounde government that has been conducting itself as a rogue regime.
Back in Cameroon, there has been widespread condemnation of the act committed by government forces. Many prominent voices are urging the world to stand up to this new rise in gross immorality and an attack on civilization.
The calls are getting louder, urging the world to ensure that the criminal regime in Yaounde that is killing its own people be held fully accountable for the gross human rights violations and war crimes.
It is being reported that the regime had sent two army generals to the two English-speaking regions of the country with the sole purpose of decimating the population.
Besides the United Nations, condemnations have also come from some Cameroonian political parties such MRC led by Professor Maurice who is the rightful winner of the 2018 presidential elections.
MRC expression of total disappointment with the government’s action comes as no surprise as the party has always called for an inclusive dialogue as the framework that can ensure Cameroon remains one and indivisible.
“Shocking images circulating on the social media are evident of grave crimes against humanity in general and human procreation in particular. These are undoubtedly criminal acts orchestrated by individuals who harbor an ignominious genocidal project” the party’s press statement stated.
Also, a renowned Buea-based human rights lawyer, Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla is one of those voices that have called for an investigation into the killings.
He directly accused government soldiers of carrying out the attack on civilians, stressing that those responsible for these crimes should be brought to justice.
“The gruesome murder of 27 civilians, including women and children by the State Defense Forces on 14 February 2020 in Ngarbuh, Donga Mantung Division of the North West Region in Cameroon must be investigated and the perpetrators of such egregious crimes brought to justice,” he said.
The government’s latest action seems to have prompted Southern Cameroonians across the world to cast their differences aside in order to face their common enemy – the Yaounde government.
Since Friday, Southern Cameroonian activists have been very busy condemning the Yaounde government and issuing declarations on the way forward.
While each of them speaks for their own group, the common denominator in their declarations is that French-speaking Cameroonians living in Southern Cameroons must pack up and leave, as their security can no longer be guaranteed.
Currently, there are massive fund-raising efforts taking place in Washington D.C., Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Toronto, Ottawa and London (UK) to arm the fighters on the ground as the Yaounde government only understands a tough language.
Speaking to the Cameroon Concord News Group on Sunday from the United States capital, a Southern Cameroonian who is participating in the fund-raising efforts said that the response had been encouraging, adding that the killings in the Northwest region came with something positive.
“They have broken down the firewalls that were dividing us and we are now trying to build bridges that will enable us to work together in order to give the Yaounde government a run for its money,” the official who elected anonymity said.
“We are urging all Southern Cameroonians to donate to any group of their choice. Our focus for now is on arming our boys and ensuring that the different factions work together,” he stressed.
“A few divisions in the past have hurt us and we have learned our lessons. We now understand that fighting against each other only makes the enemy stronger and more determined. We are learning to accept differences. We have also learned that making common cause will help us make a bigger impact,” he added.
Meanwhile a container full of arms was caught last week at the Tiko wharf. The weapons were hidden in bags of garri and rice and it is believed that they were destined for Ambazonian fighters in Fako Division.
A source at the Tiko customs post hinted that the weapons were discovered because of an informant who is close to one of the group that was expecting the weapons.
The source revealed that the government was seeking to keep everything under wraps, as publicizing it could embolden the fighters and their arms suppliers.
The informant also said that though the shipment destined for Fako fighters had been found out, the ones for other divisions might have reached their real destination.
He pointed to the sophisticated weapons the fighters were bearing, adding that the quality of their weapons had emboldened them and brought them some victories and recognition.
From every indication, Cameroon is in for tougher times. The massacres in the Northwest region have only helped to unite Southern Cameroonians and they are already mobilizing resources to provide a proper response to the government’s genocidal acts.
Some Southern Cameroonians are calling for the war to be taken to towns and villages on the border between Southern Cameroons and East Cameroon.
Some say if French-speaking Cameroonians do not get hurt, they will never be aware of the atrocities of their government.
The world has to intervene. Condemnation and long speeches will never stop the killings. Cameroon has been caught up in an orgy of killing and only the international community can bail it out, as both factions do not trust each other.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai in the United Kingdom and James Nkongho in Yaounde