Armed Cameroon government army soldiers visited the home of Senator Kemende Henry in Bamenda early yesterday, the Southern Cameroons political elite spent months of self-imposed exile in Yaounde calling for an end to the war and upon returning home maintained a kind of deliberate silence, according to three acolytes of the senator.
But after anti-French Cameroun sentiments erupted in Bamenda this week against the Africa Cup of Nations, unidentified gunmen believed by Southern Cameroons activists to be working on behalf of the Biya Francophone regime in Yaounde shot dead the senator at Mile II Nkwen, Bamenda III Sub Division.
“It is a message. No matter who you are, how peacefully you object – if you go out and criticize the 88-year-old President Biya, you’ll be killed,” said one of Senator Kemende’s friends, who sued for anonymity for fear of reprisal from Cameroon government troops.
Cameroon Intelligence Report interviews with three senior Anglophone officials in Bamenda and six pro Yaounde CPDM militants depict a pattern of mass arrests, intimidation and torture, and in many cases targeted killings of Southern Cameroonians by soldiers loyal to the Biya Beti Ewondo regime in Yaounde.
Southern Cameroonians still serving the Francophone dominated Biya government including the Minister of Territorial Administration Paul Atanga Nji are all viewed as corrupt and Southern Cameroonians now say federalism alone will not provide a long lasting solution for the English speaking people of Ambazonia.
Several Southern Cameroons activists have been shot dead recently in Bamenda, Buea and Limbe in what appear to be targeted assassinations, according to local human rights groups and the Vice President of the Ambazonia Interim Government Dabney Yerima. Dabney Yerima said Ambazonia Intelligence hinted him that Cameroon government soldiers were behind the deaths because those killed had been openly critical of the Africa Cup of Nations and had also received threats based on their anti French Cameroun activism.
In a statement released by the Southern Cameroons Department of Foreign Affairs, the Ambazonia Interim Government stated that the killing of Senator Kemende Henry amounts to what they view as a campaign intended to silence Ambazonia Ground Zero leaders and causing them to abandon the struggle or consider fleeing the country.
The Biya regime’s declaration of war on English-speaking citizens following the killing of some four gendarme officers in Agborkem German in the country’s Southwest region some five years ago, will go down in history as a faux pas which will haunt the country for a very long time. Thousands have been killed and maimed in a war very much driven by arrogance and ego, and many families will be entering the new year with a lot of pain in their minds.
The war itself was avoidable. There was no justification for a full-blown armed conflict in a country that is still at grips with massive and complicated development issues. Cameroon needs all its citizens to come together to give the country a shot in the arm, but the government does not seem to see things this way.
By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai