Again, again and again unfortunate Southern Cameroons civilians are trapped in the hell on earth that the Ambazonia liberation war has become. A latest report puts civilian deaths at 1600 and thousands wounded under the heavy assault launched by President Biya’s Rapid Intervention Battalion Forces.
Recently it was the turn of residents of Menka in the Santa Sub constituency some few km west of Bamenda the capital of the Northern Zone. From every indication, conditions in Southern Cameroons are getting worse, and there is no end to the Ambazonia conflict.
The end to any violent conflict comes when either the warring sides realise the devastation they cause and make peace; outside intervention sways the warring parties to end the conflict; or there are clear winners delivering a crushing defeat to their enemies.
The 85 year old French Cameroon dictator does not seem to care about the devastation of the two-year war. Almost 97 rural communities in Southern Cameroons is rubble — more than 1600 Ambazonians have died, there are 40,000 Ambazonian refugees in Nigeria and some 160,000 internally displaced. Unfortunately, the dialogue option seems highly unlikely with Biya still in power. There has not been any international intervention through peace initiatives and France’s unconditional and active support of the Biya regime is hampering any attempt at negotiating a truce.
Since the conflict began, many Southern Cameroons resistance groups have sporadically emerged. Although most of them later merged into the larger entity-the Interim Government of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia, there are still some small groups. Their inclusion in the Interim Government has been problematic causing the West to think that it is unclear who actually represents Southern Cameroons.
All along, Mr Biya’s regime has been claiming it is fighting separatists and terrorists groups in Southern Cameroons. French President Emmanuel Macron is pushing Mr Biya and Nigeria’s Buhari to wipe out these groups, spurred by the deep fear they could mobilise radical Biafra groups within Nigeria’s borders.
The European Union doesn’t want Mr Biya, but they love his argument of protecting a one and indivisible Cameroon. So, the lack of an international intervention and the impossibility of Biya sitting down to negotiate with the Interim Government, leaves only the option of fighting it out until clear victors emerge. This leaves the Biya regime with a free run to assert itself by killing as many Southern Cameroonians as possible.
This is the strategic line the Biya regime has drawn thick on the ground and it explains why Biya and his political gang have ignored calls for a ceasefire. Biya and the French government had hope for a quick and absolute victory, even if it is a bloodbath. But the pattern of the war will eventually see the collapse of the Cameroon army.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai