Kidnapped Students and the Failure of Governance in Cameroon

After news broke about the kidnap of students of PSS Nkwen purportedly by Ambazonian fighters a lot of rumours has been circulating as to the whereabouts of the students. The video not only showed the face of one of the kidnappers but an attempt was made on Facebook to immediately link the face to one army officer – Mveng Rostand Armel. All of that simply confuses the facts of a case that is beginning to sound even more Kafkaeisk than we are used to from Cameroon.

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I have succeeded in talking to the parents of one of the boys in the Video today and I won’t say which one but this is what seemed to have happened fro the point of view of the parents.
1) The children were not kidnapped yesterday or the day before but had been kidnapped on the 30’th of October.
2)The school had on their own decided to negotiate with the kidnappers and apparently had handed over some money to them. The amount of 2.5 million has been mentioned.
3) The school had apparently not informed the parents of the kidnap and most parents to their shock had simply recognised their kids in the video that went viral and went to the school to demand answers
4) The school had apparently also not contacted the police or the army because it is the experience now of everybody in the North West that once the army is brought into anything, it goes from bad to worse and people die,
5) The Governor of the North West region Mr Lele L’Afrique seemed only to have heard of this kidnap when it went viral on social media and then rushed to the school yesterday afternoon. He ordered the Vice principal, the bursar and teachers to be locked up by the police or gendarmes and all their telephones were seized. The Governor then went further and ordered the army to surround the school and cordon off the area.
6) At the same time the kidnappers holding the students said they wanted to bring them back and deliver them safely to the school as it is not their intention to hurt the students but with the school being surrounded they cannot show themselves around there because they know they will not only be shot but the children in their keeping will be killed too.
7) Contrary to what has been claimed the school was not guarded by the army
8) PSS Nkwen is special in that situated in a hidden area in Ntahsin, which is not yet very populated, the school was housing students from almost all PSS schools in the NW region because amba boys had attacked the teachers and bursars of CPC Bali, PSS Bafut and PSS Mankon. Consequently, they had transferred their students to this quiet area.
9) Having seen the video on social media parents from all over the country rushed to PSS Nkwen to try and collect their children today but the governor and the army will not allow them and was threatening the parents.
10) A bad situation developed there this afternoon with parents challenging the soldiers to shoot them if they want but that they are not leaving without their children. It got so bad that they had to bring in Ni John Fru Ndi to come and plead with the parents to go back home today and they left the school at 5 P.m promising to be back the next day for their children.
11) The parents have pleaded with the governor to send the soldiers away so that the children can be brought back safely but the governor will not hear of it and is determined to use force to solve the problem. The fear of every parent tonight is that the army is going to do something stupid and get the children killed in the crossfire or that somebody responsible for the kidnapping (whether it is amba or the army will kill the children to prevent their identity being revealed. In that case, the seizure of the telephones of the teachers of the school who have done nothing wrong and are now being held in custody speaks for itself.
12) Tomorrow promises to be a very hot day at the school campus, soldiers or no soldiers as parents and grandparents come looking for their children. Governor Lele L’Afrique needs to know that his attempt at high handedness might just possibly cost the lives of those children.

The One Thing that Scares both Ambazonians and the Biya Regime in Cameroon

The Biya Regime and Ambazonians apparently want completely different things. Their end-games are antithetical to each other, and as such, one would be right to assume that the two camps will rarely find any common ground. Ambazonians have been clear that it is ‘All or Nothing’ in their quest for independence and the Biya regime has been categorical that it is ‘all or nothing’ in their dogmas on ‘one and indivisible’ Cameroon.
Over the two years that I have followed and participated in seeking solutions to the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, I have been surprised on many occasions to find that the two camps, despite being polar opposites, tend to have a lot of similarities in their approaches.

No To Anglophone Marginalisation

An instance would be the ‘No Circulation’ or ‘No Movement’ Strategy that was instituted by the Ambazonian leadership, with the objective to stop all but essential movement within the two English-Speaking Regions. This strategy was further supported by the Biya Regime administrators in both regions, who also issued communiques, banning all but essential circulation. While the objectives of both camps might have been different, one thing they could have agreed on was that they were imposing a burden on the people of the regions and making an already difficult existence, unbearable.

The second instance was the ban on elections within the two English-Speaking regions. The Ambazonians made their position very clear, issued clear warnings and even went on to attack some persons who dared to disobey the orders. What they might not have known, or refused to acknowledge, was the fact that Biya’s declaration of war within the two regions and his refusal to resolve the crisis was aimed at also preventing people from voting. The two regions have historically been the areas Biya and his CPDM party have always struggled in elections. Given the wide discontent of the population and considering the fact that turnout in elections are always very low in other parts of the country, there was the possibility that a decision by the two regions to go out in full support of any candidate would have made the job of Biya’s rigging machinery a million times harder. That is a chance Biya and his team did not want to take. Hence, allowing the conflict to fester and causing widespread dispersal of persons, they ensured that many people, even if they wanted to, would be unable to vote. It would have been sheer glee within the Biya ranks, therefore, when Ambazonians started echoing the same sentiments. The results of the already widely contested elections is one evidence to show that both camps succeeded in one thing – keep the opposition at bay, while giving Biya and the CPDM victory in regions in which they are most hated.

The above cases are simply about strategy and outcomes, but the one thing that both camps have shown a great fear of over the years is the concept of FEDERALISM. The notion of Federalism as a solution to the Anglophone crisis seems to send cold shivers down the spines of both the Biya regime and the Ambazonians. Historically, the Two-State Federation which existed between 1961 and 1972 have on record the most developmental milestones of the English-Speaking regions. Little wonder, that scared of the fast pace at which West Cameroon was progressing economically, the Ahidjo Regime, in collusion with France, abrogated the Federal Constitution of 1961 and ended the Federal structure.

In 2016, with the resurgence of the Anglophone crisis led by Lawyers and Teachers, the concept of a return to the Two-State Federation gained prominence. Led by Barrister Agbor Felix Nkongho, the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium made it clear that only a return to Federation will guarantee a long-lasting solution to the crisis. Their message was clear, it was simple, it was appealing. It won the hearts of the masses, to the dismay and chagrin of the Biya regime, whose message of a ‘one and indivisible’ Cameroon could only be imposed on the people with the use of brute force. Efforts to bribe and cajole the pro-federalist movement failed woefully, leaving the Biya regime one option, force. The Consortium was banned, the internet was cut and the leaders were arrested and carted off to Yaounde to stand trial for treasonable offences.

The then Secretary-General of the Consortium, Wilfred Tassang, fled to Nigeria where to the surprise of many, changed the narrative to a pro-independence quest. This was surprising for many reasons, he had chosen Interim leaders in the diaspora, one of whom at the time was a known and avowed federalist. Secondly, taking such a stance seemed to provide fodder for the cannon of the Biya regime to crucify the incarcerated consortium leaders. Their lawyers promptly acted, by distancing them from the new movement. Nigeria, therefore, became the renaissance country for the Ambazonia ideology, which hitherto, had been on the fringes of Cameroon Anglophone society. Ambazonia was rebranded and sold to the English-speaking Cameroonians as the most logical progression in the freedom struggle. Statements such as ‘the train has moved’ ‘we have gone past the stage of Federation’ ‘we cannot federate with monsters’ etc.. gained prominence.

The absence of the internet within the Anglophone regions in Cameroon also helped as the people were unaware of the developments taking place in the diaspora. The formation of a body known as SCACUF, brought dinosaurs of the Anglophone struggle into the heart of leadership of the new movement. As there was no vetting process, it was impossible to ascertain who had over the years, been bought over by the Biya regime. The quest to present a united front in the face of continuous disunity meant that questions were left unasked about some of the most important things.

However, as the newly branded pro-independence train grunted and stuttered along, sometimes bereft of passengers, sometimes in the completely wrong direction, the urgent need for a captain arose. Sisiku Ayuk Tabe Julius was chosen as the Messiah. There were a number of reasons for this; he was relatively unknown, meaning there was bound to be little or no skeletons in his cupboard; Ayuk Tabe had a good job within a university and he was soft-spoken, articulate and appeared overall to be unifying figure. This worked and the people rallied behind Ayuk Tabe and his newly-formed Ambazonia Interim Government (IG). Three reasons made this possible: there was no other viable alternative as the consortium leaders were still in jail; he was closely aligned with Tassang Wilfred, which meant people still saw in them the relics of the Consortium they had come to love and finally, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, in stark contrast to other pro-independence leaders, preached a message that was about hope rather than the doom and gloom that characterised the constant allusion to historical catastrophes that had landed the Anglophone in the current mess.

Realising the power at his disposal, Ayuk Tabe, started steering the train towards what might have led to a resolution of the crisis. Without outrightly echoing the ‘all or nothing’ independence dogma, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe appeared more to be a Federalist than a pro-independence leader. It is, therefore, no surprise that the reason circulating for the ill-fated meeting at Nera Hotel in Nigeria, which led to his and his cabinet’s abduction, has been mainly around the fact that they went there to negotiate on a Federation-outcome which would end the crisis and spare the people further suffering.

What Sisiku and his team failed to realise was that the Biya regime would have left him alone had he been fully pro-independence. Outright independence was a dog with a loud bark, but no bite, with a high potential of biting the wrong people, should it choose to do so. Federalism, however, was something the Biya regime was totally scared of and would do anything to stop it in its tracks. Before the abduction of Sisiku, the Biya regime had done a number of things to ensure that the federalism project would not resurface.

Prior to releasing Agbor Felix and Fontem Neba from jail, they circulated rumours discrediting them in the eyes of the people. When this did not work and upon his release, Barrister Nkongho hit the ground running, they fomented a torrential attack on the concept of federalism, pitching it against independence. This soon gained traction on social media and all attention soon focused on Separatists constantly attacking federalists, despite the fact the latter were practically their closest allies. With this fully in place, when Barrister Nkongho visited London, it was shocking, but not surprising to see the same people who had once chanted his ‘hosannas’, shouting ‘crucify him’. The protest against Nkongho at Chatham House, London, signifies a very low moment for the Anglophone crisis, but one that the Biya regime would forever cherish. The separatists were clearly going to do anything to stop the federalists.

Over the months that followed, many write-ups, Facebook lives and YouTube videos were made, with one focus, attack Federalism. The Biya regime relaxed. As soon as Federalist voices seemed to have been tamed for a while, the regime prodded and taunted the separatists towards the one direction they could easily go – violence. This worked and the whole Anglophone region was thrown into conflict. This, to the regime, was a win-win situation. It gave them legitimacy to wipe out any dissenting voices, while at the same time, ensuring that they (the regime) could easily mask as separatists and attack anything remotely resembling a call for federalism.

Their attack for the Anglophone General Conference initiative of Cardinal Tume and Dr. Simon Munzu amongst others, has been just one of the many ways to ensure the Federalist agenda does not resurface. The attack on Federalists instigated by Boh Herbert’s write-up and subsequent attack at their private meeting in the USA by Eric Tataw, another separatist, who clearly expressed his hatred for the federalists by stating he will not write his name on the same paper as them, even if it meant he will then be able to make his points, further accentuate the level at which they are willing to go to stop the federalists.

As one casts an eye for a sense of progress on the Anglophone, all one can see is the constant attack on Federalists, mainly by Ambazonians and this has been extended to the Francophones, who are easily working with Federalists to heap more pressure on the Biya regime. The hatred for Federalists and by extension, the francophones, has been such that many Ambazonians are openly declaring their support for Biya to stay in power, if only by so doing, they could thwart the efforts of the federalist.

If anything, this is by every indication, a very unusual alliance between the Biya regime and the Ambazonians, whose only point of convergence is their disdain for the Federalist. This, however, is understandable, given that the Federalist stands as the voice of reason within the carnage. The federalist presents the meeting point between two extremes and most importantly, the federalist approach presents the most likely prospect of success in giving autonomy to the Anglophone and bringing a close to the crisis. Why would this be a problem for the Biya regime and the Ambazonian, one may ask? This is simply, the two extremes thrive on power and control, the Biya regime loses its control of the English-speaking regions, unleashing the potential for accountability and growth. The Ambazonian leaders lose their only opportunity of attaining leadership by ascription rather than merit. The Federalist position is one in which the actors have no personal benefits other than a change in the form of the state which will usher in the devolution of power, accountability and a system of fairness where the best and brightest will lead. This, unfortunately, is something that both the Biya regime and most of the current Ambazonia leadership, do not clearly want as it will render them obsolete

How Did Samuel Ikome Sako of Ambazonia End up Representing Another Organisation at the UN?

There is no doubt that the quest for liberation of the people of the former Southern Cameroons has been riddled with many controversies. The most recent has been the claim of the faction who call themselves “Ambazonians”, that they were boycotting elections taking place in Cameroon. One ought to wonder how one gets to boycott an election of which they are not part, that wonder turns into bewilderment when the Acting Interim President of Ambazonia becomes one of the first people to send a congratulatory message to one of the candidates Maurice Kamto before official election results had been published. I for one interpreted this as a form of propaganda to force the Biya regime to capitulate, hand over power to someone else, who will take a softer and more conciliatory approach to the Ambazonia question.

The above would be good propaganda. But when there seems to be propaganda that is aimed at deceiving the people of Ambazonia, then one must of necessity question what the real motivations of Samuel Ikome Sako and his government are.

A few weeks ago, Bareta News reported a huge announcement made by Mr. Sako. He is quoted to have said:

“I would love to make that big announcement. Our nation- Ambazonia has been officially invited by the 4th committee of the united Nations concerned with decolonisation…We will be presenting our case in New York before this committee in a few days time.”

As is to be expected, this announcement brought a lot of excitement among Ambazonians, especially those who pay allegiance to the Interim Government led by Sako. I was also very intrigued and my curiosity was piqued. Could this finally be happening? Could the UN have finally decided to grant Ambazonia an audience and hopefully start a process of reconciliation and righting of past wrongs? Could this be the moment that finally brings an end to the conflict that is claiming the lives of English-Speaking Cameroonians on a daily basis?

These questions made me keep an eye out for the outcome of the Committee’s proceedings. It, therefore, came as a rude shock when I checked and found that there was a publication about the decolonisation Committee, titled “Delegates Urge Administering Powers to Take Necessary Steps for Rapid Self-Determination, as Fourth Committee Begins Decolonization Debate: President of General Assembly Highlights Commitment to Ensuring Full Independence for All Colonial Countries, Peoples” but nowhere in the documents is Ambazonia or Southern Cameroons mentioned.

I was rather surprised to find out that Mr. Sako and another Martin Ayong Ayim had presented themselves as representing interests that had nothing to do with either Ambazonia, Southern Cameroons or even the Republic of Cameroon. They were listed as representatives number 60 and 61 in a document A/C.4/73/7 titled “Question of Western Sahara: Requests for hearing”. On this document, Sako is listed as a representative of African Solidarity of Sahrawi.

According to the UN document, a representative from Cameroon had raised concerns about the presence of two individuals on the list of representatives. It, therefore, goes on to state that “Samuel Ikome Sako of Africa Solidarity for Sahrawi and Martin Ayong Ayim of Living Stories and Memories, are listed in the requests for hearings on Western Sahara.” and that “The Committee will take up those two requests later in the week following the informal consultations,”. This, therefore, raises the question of how Sako and Ayim ended up using strange organisations to represent Western Sahara? Why does the name Ambazonia or Southern Cameroons not feature anywhere in the documents? There is the indication in the documents that Sako and Ayim are representing a country without “complete knowledge of the facts,”.

It is my opinion that Sako and Ayim simply used different organisations, so as to get their names on the UN documents, as a way of providing evidence to their followers that they truly were part of the decolonisation committee. What they had not anticipated was the fact that this information would be published and made available to the public.

It is worth mentioning that Western Sahara, is a is a disputed territory in the Maghreb region of North Africa, partially controlled by the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and partially Moroccan-occupied, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the Northeast, Mauritania to the East and South, and the Atlantic Ocean to the West.

Western Sahara or the Sahrawi, therefore have nothing in common with either Ambazonia or Southern Cameroons, safe for the fact that they are both territories clamouring for independence.

Maurice Kamto Declares Himself President-Elect of Cameroon

In an election that will go down in the history of Cameroon as one of the most controversial, it has not been short of excitement and intricacies.

With last minute coalitions that were formed, challenged by the electoral commission (ELECAM) and defended by the parties; with warnings made by the Cameroon Communication and Territorial Administration ministers as soon as polling was over; with several reports streaming in from different areas indicating that there were many irregularities; one would have thought it could not get more interesting.

However, as unofficial results made the way across social media sphere, it became obvious that Maurice Kamto, the leader of the  Cameroon Renaissance Movement (MRC) and leader of the Coalition formed with the NOW Movement, was emerging the clear winner.

Despite the fact that Cameroonian law indicates that official announcement of results can only be made by ELECAM and the Constitutional Council, 15 days after polls, Kamto was not to wait for whatever they will declare. An announcement was therefore made by Kamto’s team about a press conference that was to take place on Monday, October 08 at 10.00am in Yaounde. This finally held a few hours later, because of the huge security presence at the initial venue.

During the press conference, Maurice Kamto declared that he had been given the mandate to kick a penalty, he kicked and a goal has been scored. Amidst large cheers from the crowds, Kamto went on to state:

I have closely followed national and international opinion regarding the elections and I am inviting the outgoing president to organize a peaceful handover! As I am involved, I guarantee him and his family a protection at the level of his status. I launch a virulent appeal to all candidates in this election to remain vigilant

Talking about the ongoing crisis in the English-speaking regions of the Country, which has effectively meant that people from those regions did not participate in the elections, Kamto promised to rebuild the villages that have been burned by the Biya regime and to pay compensations to all victims.

It is the hope of many Cameroonians that 85-year-old dictator Paul Biya, will concede victory peacefully and allow the rebuilding process to begin, especially with regards to the fractured North West and South West Regions. Some people, however, are skeptical as they wonder how the man who has been in power for most of his adult life, will suddenly hand over to someone without a fight.

It is expected, that with the ongoing tensions in the English-speaking regions, should Biya refuse to concede victory, there is a high likelihood of a nationwide crisis as supporters of Maurice Kamto will also not be giving up without a fight.

Southern Cameroonians Defy ‘Movement’ Ban – Come out Massively on October 1st

When the West Cameroon Movement for Change (WCMC) called on demonstrations to mark October 1 and all it signifies, it boldly decided that followers in Yaounde should go out and march. This was met by a naive conclusion by Cameroon’s minister for defence, which led to a published letter calling for the military to target Anglophone neighbourhoods in Yaounde. Assessing the situation, WCMC called for their followers in Yaounde to pause the demonstrations but encouraged others in other cities and countries to go ahead. One thing WCMC did not envisage was the resilience of the people within the embattled North West and South West Regions of Cameroon.

As October 1st unfolded and WCMC together with the Southern Cameroons Community UK and other frontline movements, stormed the streets of London, the fever spread across the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.

Videos and images began emerging as the day wore on, showing that the people had defied the orders of the Ambazonia Governing Council (AGC), the Ambazonia Interim Government (IG) and the Biya Regime’s representatives in the North West and South West Regions, who all placed a ban on public movement within the regions.

The actions of the people on the ground have shown once more, that all those purporting to be leaders are clearly out of touch with the basic realities and aspirations of their people. I already condemned the strategies, asking people not to go out, as being out of touch with the daily realities of those communities.

The outings that were accompanied in most cases by chantings and carrying of peace plants, were taken a notch higher in others, where the people came out with weapons and some hoisted the Ambazonia flag on some prominent government buildings.

As much as I continue to admire the resilience of the people, I still remain of the opinion that the hoisting of flags, the use of force in challenging the brutal military of Biya, will not take the people forward towards freedom. I maintain the opinion that the only way towards any form of freedom for the people of the English-speaking Regions and by extension for all Cameroonians, is for them to unite and oust Biya from power.

It is my hope that over the coming days, there will be some form of mass uprising as the campaign trail brings up pent-up emotions within all parts of Cameroon and the people gradually come to the realisation that unless they come together as one and demand an end to Biya’s 36 years of barren rule, they may have another 7 years added to it.

Ghost Town Claims Two Victims in Buea – Cameroon

Ghost towns were meant to be a form of civil disobedience across English-Speaking Cameroon. It was meant to force the government to stop its systematic attack on the socio-cultural values of Anglophones and treating them as second-class citizens in their own country.

However, as time has passed, ghost towns have become generating human ghosts. Two young men gave up their ghosts after being shot in broad daylight in the South West Regional Capital of Cameroon.

As the images and videos flooded social media, it became apparent, that as with many unresolved crimes being committed on a daily basis within the English-Speaking Regions, the truth of what actually happened, may never be known.

Some accounts state that the military drove by and shot the boys, one of whom has been identified to be a taxi driver. These accounts are however contradicted by some who claim that the boys were shot by renegades who felt that the victims were violating Ghost towns.

Ghost towns simply imply that no business is meant to operate on that day. This implies that people are forced to stay indoors. However, a few people do loiter around to grab some necessities, whenever they can. It will be recalled that the 17-Year-Old nursing mother, who was raped by ‘security’ personnel, also got attacked on a ghost town day.

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The difficulty in getting a clear account of what happened typifies the challenges that ghost towns are bringing on the population. As there are few or no persons around, these days have become fertile for illegal activities, both by hoodlums and the military, who happen to be the only ones who can dare walk about freely on such days.

In addition to the security challenges that ghost town days now pose, it is becoming increasingly difficult to know what exactly to do on such days. In the same Buea for example, the Mayor has been reported to have gone out on such days to shut down businesses that are obeying the boycott and deflating the tires of taxis which are not operating. On the flip side, should these businesses and taximen choose to obey the mayor, they run the risk of being targeted by the ghost town enforcers.

The people are therefore caught in a difficult situation. It is hoped that with the up-coming elections taking place in Cameroon, there might be a change of leadership, ushering in a new president who will engage with the crisis and find a longlasting solution. Such a hope is, however, very slim, considering Biya’s history of rigging elections.

Cameroon Bribes UN Human Rights Centre to Cover its Abuses?

Many people have wondered why many international bodies reporting on human rights abuses, have been conspicuously silent on the case of Cameroon, especially the abuses committed by the Biya Regime.

The UN Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa has clarified the situation. Some of them are receiving donations from the same corrupt institutions they are meant to be watchdogs over. Proudly announcing a donation of $18K from Cameroon on their Twitter Account, the UN Human Rights was probably unprepared for the reaction they received from some Cameroonian Activists.

With the Biya regime’s record on bribery and corruption, such donations can only be construed to mean one thing. An incentive to the HR body to look the other way, while it continues with its flagrant disregard for human rights.

Many Twitter users stormed the tweet, posting images and videos of the different abuses the Cameroon government has been meting out on its population over the last few months. Some questioned why the Centre for Human Rights will accept donations from a

Thomas-Awah-Junior.jpg
Thomas Awah Junior currently very ill at Kondengui Maximum Prison

country that has refused to grant access to most Rights bodies to examine its detention centres and prisons. Such questions are not surprising, given that videos have been leaked from the Kondengui maximum security prison, indicating horrible living conditions. There is also currently a campaign on social media asking for the release of one Thomas Awah Junior, publisher of the Aghem News Magazine who is critically ill at the Kondengui Maximum Prison in Yaounde.

Judith Nwana, a Cameroonian activist, accused the UN Human Rights Centre for its hypocrisy. She further challenged the regime to use the money in helping refugees and internally displaced persons caused by its highhandedness in dealing with the ongoing crisis in the English-Speaking Regions of the country.

Over the last couple of years, Cameroon has been gradually descending into a state of anarchy. The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, has visited Cameroon at the heart of the conflict, during which, Cameroonians worldwide held their breath as they hoped and prayed that something positive would happen following the visit. The SG rather left with a gift from the Cameroon Dictator Paul Biya, and never made an official statement about the crisis. The hopes of Cameroonians were again crushed, as it was the case when Biya visited the vatican and met with the Pope.

Efforts by the media outlet, Inner City Press to call on the UN to act and halt the violent crackdown in Cameroon, rather resulted in them being harassed and kicked out of the United Nations.

It would, therefore, appear that while Cameroonians are desperately hoping that the UN might intervene in some way to help them out of the precarious situation they find themselves, the different organs of the UN and its leaders are rather making feather beds with the Cameroon dictator and his regime.

This should not in the least be surprising, given that the UN has been known to be silent over the worst conflicts or genocides that have occurred over the last few decades. The Rwanda Genocide is a case in point, where the UN’s inaction has been largely blamed for the high number of deaths that were recorded.

Unless other bodies such as Amnesty Internation and Centre for Human Rights & Democracy in Africa continue to put out reports of the atrocities being committed by the Biya Regime, it is certain that no one will. Most certainly not the UN Centre for Human Rights.

Ayaba Cho Lucas Allegedly Exposed in Fake London Oil Deal

As elections loom in Cameroon and as the Ambazonians reinforce their threats that the said elections will not hold in the English-Speaking regions, which they have declared theirs and renamed ‘Ambazonia’; as news reports keep coming through highlighting the high human costs of the ongoing conflict; as English-Speaking Cameroonians find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place, one would have thought that the focus of every Ambazonian and Cameroonian will be geared towards finding long-lasting solutions to the problem and easing the burden it has imposed on the ordinary citizen.

Unfortunately, this seems not to be the case. As the dust is gradually settling on the scandal which exposed the leaders of the Ambazonia movement fighting over funds raised in Washington DC, a new scandal seem to be brewing. This is alleged to have been over an oil deal that was set up with Ayaba Cho Lucas in London.

Videos are circulating on Social Media showing the Commander in Chief of the Ambazonia Defense Fores and President of the Ambazonia Governing Council Dr Ayaba Cho Lucas, being challenged by some people who appear to be from the same English-Speaking regions of Cameroon.

In one of the videos, Ayaba Cho is being accused of plotting the abduction of Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, the President of the Ambazonia Interim Government. Tabe and some members of his cabinet where abducted on the 5th of January 2018  at Nera Hotel in Nigeria, and have been supposedly held incommunicado by the Cameroon government since then.

Ayaba is also accused in the videos of falling for a trap set by his interlocutors, who claim to have posed as contractors willing to sign an oil deal with Ambazonia. While there is clearly no evidence in the videos to support these claims, it has nonetheless led to many people questioning the character of Ayaba Cho Lucas. Among these and other accusations, questions are raised as to why Ayaba’s forces have been attacking other Ambazonian forces on the ground.

As is to be expected, there are many who have come to his defence, some claiming that it is a setup by agents of the Biya Regime. Others, including his Wife, Li Ayaba, have argued that it is a setup by what she calls ‘Virtual Internet Government – VIG’. She concludes that her husband has a clear conscience and that he was under the protection of God. This defence received some acclaim from fans and followers, though some took the opportunity to challenge Mrs. Ayaba.

One of the commentators accused the whole family and tagged them thieves, questioning why one person would want to sign an oil deal on behalf of 8 million people and without consulting the other leaders.

This scandal, whatever its merits may be, has further deepened the mistrust and rifts that exist between the leaders of the Ambazonia movement. As tensions intensify in Cameroon and as the death toll increases, with the number of internally displaced persons reaching an all time high, it is imperative that there is some semblance of unity of purpose among the front-line leaders..

A few days before the commencement of what is simply known as No Circulation strategy which forbids movement within the English-Speaking Regions, this situation further casts a gloom over the prospects of those facing the brunt of the crisis.

 

All Ambazonia Consultative Conference (AACC): How Far – So Far?

It has been just over three weeks since the All Ambazonia Consultative Conference (AACC) took place in Washington DC. Many hailed the conference and the match in front of the White House as being the watershed moment for the Anglophone revolution. They were right, but not for the reasons they had in mind at the time.

As the dust settled on the conference and many were trying to analyse all that was said and done during that weekend, one thing that many hailed as progress, was that for the first time in a long time, the Anglophone leaders were united and focused on the one issue that made them leaders – the liberation of their people from the barbarism of Biya and France.

A few days after the conference, things began to unravel, beginning with the resolutions that were taken. Some people, like me, had hoped that this conference will be a time of deep reflection on the pain and suffering of the people within the English-Speaking Regions of Cameroon. It was hoped that resolutions that will be taken will be geared towards, not only alleviating the pain of the suffering masses, but also making sure that focus is taken away from the people and placed where it should rightly be – on the Biya Regime and France.

The first contentious issue was that of school boycott. The Washington DC conference resolved that schools should not resume in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon, despite mounting evidence that this was counter-productive. Prominent persons such as Ayah Paul added their voice in calling on the leaders to consider the issue of school resumption seriously. The debate went on to social media and raged on for a few days, while the fate of children hung in a balance.

The Ambazonia Interim Government (IG), through its Communication Secretary, made a surprising turn-around, and in a live broadcast, announced that they were not against school resumption. They, however, said they could not guarantee the security of children going to school. This statement was interpreted differently, depending on what side of the divide a person was. For those in favour of school boycott, the fact that the IG could not guarantee security was a clear indication it was not in favour of school resumption. To those in favour of school resumption, it was interpreted that the IG was happy for parents and guardians to make the judgment and decide for themselves if it was safe for their kids to go to school. Many parents and children, tired of staying at home for over two years, decided to take to the second interpretation. Many children went to school and many schools opened on the resumption date.

The anti-school campaigners decided to step up their campaign to prove a point. Within a few days of school resumption, students and their principals were kidnapped from a number of schools. Some were tortured, some died. The point was made, there was insecurity in the country and so anyone going to school did so at their own risk.

More crucially, however, Ayaba Cho Lucas, the leader of the Ambazonia Governing Ayaba Cho Lucas' View on School ResumptionCouncil (AGC) and Commander-in-Chief of the Ambazonia Defense Forces (ADF) announced on his Facebook page that schools will not resume until 2019. His reason was simple. Many of his fighters were students. The question of whether these students are of the right age to be involved in a military campaign, is that of another discussion. What however was clear from Ayaba’s message was that there was no agreement among the big stakeholders of the Washington Conference on the issue of school resumption. While the IG favoured the parents making the decision, Ayaba had made his decision and communicated it to everyone.

While this was clearly an area of disagreement between the major leaders of the Ambazonia revolution, it did not appear to be significant enough to be a call for concern. Everyone was still mildly optimistic that the other issues on which they agreed will carry the revolution forward and that within a short period of time, one will begin to see some signs of this unity, manifesting in the betterment of the situation on the ground for the suffering masses.

Over the weekend of 7 September 2018, rumours began circulating that there were disagreements on what to do with some money that had been raised in Washington DC. One Facebook account operating under the name of ‘Kemita Ashu’ posted a poll asking friends and followers to vote on what they wanted to be done with the money – share among groups or operate as a common fund.

By Monday 10 September, Chris Anu released an audio, in which he attacked some of the other leaders and challenged their views on the issue of the $50.000 raised in Washington DC. The following day, there was a rebuttal from Boh Herbert in which he also cast serious aspersions on the personality of Mr. Anu and others such as Sako Samuel, the Acting Interim President of the IG. To make matters worse, this was picked up by the local newspapers in Cameroon, with one publishing the damagine frontpage headline “Fight Over Money tearing Diaspora Ambazonia Leaders Apart – Suspected embezzlers to face Court Action.

While the veracity in the headline, especially the aspect of court action could be a matter of conjecture, it, however, highlights the plight of the Anglophone people. It clearly paints a picture of leaders who are out of sync with the realities and sufferings of their people.

It would have been thought that with the growing number of deaths inflicted by the Biya regime, with the astronomical rise in the number of internally displaced persons and with uncertainty looming over the very existence of English-Speaking Cameroon, a unity of purpose among the leaders will be of utmost priority.

As supporters and worried citizens were trying to come to terms with all these developments, and as some activists have gone on the defensive to mitigate the damage A Concerned Ambazonian highlights the current divide among the groupsthrough a reinterpretation of the issues, a new contentious issue has emerged. There is now the growing argument over dates on which some actions are being imposed on the people on the ground. The actual implication of the action, which seems to call for a month of inactivity, is unclear. However, what seems clear is that the leaders are again at loggerheads as to what date it should start. While some are of the view that it should start on the 16th of September, some are of the opinion that it should be 25th of September. This in itself has left the people who are facing the brunt of such discord, in a more dire situation. Some have concluded that this is a fight for dominance between the AGC and the IG. Whatever the case, this raises serious concerns about the future of the anglophone quest for freedom and further casts a gloomy spell on the future wellbeing of the whole of Cameroon, especially in the light of upcoming presidential elections.

 

 

Cameroon Military Fights to Maintain their Record in Barbarism

Some have argued that the videos had already been taken and stored in an archive, where they are being released. Some argue they were taken recently. It is difficult to tell from the videos exactly when they were taken. Some have even argued that the videos are taken at the same spot, which seems to be the execution area for the Cameroon military.

 

What is not difficult to see is the barbarism that takes place within these videos. As the war rages on in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon, many commentators are worried that similar atrocities are being committed and might be released on a later date.

This video might not evoke the same feelings as it did in the last one involving women and children, but it seems to take the barbarism up a notch. The video shows a single man, sitting, blindfolded and hands tied to his back. He is about to be summarily executed, but one soldier thinks that death from gunshots will not inflict as much pain as he would love. So he goes on to use a machete to cut one of the man’s feet. Other, speaking in French, say ‘he will be taken by surprise’, meaning probably that the man will not be expecting the cut as he knows he is about to be shot. The man’s reaction is slower than one would expect from such sharp pain, maybe a bit disappointing for his torturers, who would have expected more. Probably, because he had already been tortured to the extent that he is numb to pain.

Mercifully, for the man, before he could begin to experience the excruciating pain inflicted on him by the cut, the order is given and many automatic weapons ring out. Listening to it, one would think that the army is attacking another battalion. But no! All those bullets are for one man, helplessly tied to the ground already bleeding and dying. He does not stand a chance.

It makes one wonder. Why are the Cameroon military exhibiting so much anger? Could it be because they are involved in wars against citizens of their own country, something they are not trained to do? If that were the case, then why do they not take out the anger on the one person, who is responsible for the dilapidation of the country?

The man in the video is accused of being a Boko Haram ‘terrorist’ but what one sees from the military, the reverse seems to be the case. They seem to be the ones carrying out the acts of terrorism that will forever haunt all who watch their gruesome videos.