“I Refuse to Be Silent” – The Tragedy of Ambazonia

By Jude Mortimer Kehla

The decision by Cho Ayaba to start a military rebellion in the village of Dadi was one of the worse decisions in recent memory. It was not informed as his sycophants tell us everyday on facebook by any strategic thinking, preparation or backing. It was grandstanding for one purpose only: a desperate attempt to remain relevant in the struggle in the face of the emergence of a new crop of anglophone leaders led by Sissiku Ayuk Tabe.

This seems to have been a trend throughout the struggle. After fleeing to Nigeria and finding himself isolated and the centre of gravity shifted to the young men Mark Bara and Ivo Tapang, in desperation Tassang joined the southern Cameroon movement in exile in Nigeria not because he was a fervent believer in separation but because he was isolated and alone.

Having been made interim head of the movement, Sissiku Ayuk Tabe declared independence on 1’st October 2017 not because it was the right thing to do and the right time to do it, nor could he pretend to have any kind of control over the territory or democratic legitimacy but because he was goaded into that declaration by the group around Boh Herbert and Morisc who would have gone ahead and declared independence from the U. S before him.

And in other to counteract the emergence of Cho Ayaba as a warlord in Southern Cameroon with influence in the field and fundraising powers abroad, some members of the IG and old activists like Akwanga declared their military presence in Southern Cameroon which finally became a free for all as they realised the power of the gun in mapping out spheres of influence on the ground by holding the people, the institutions both traditional, civil society and business as well as the government agencies to ransom.

As I have said before citing the case of Algeria, the level of violence in a revolution is related to the emergence of factions within the revolutionary bodies and the competition for attention between them. Southern Cameroon groups in the struggle seem to have worked themselves into a dilemma of their own making as they sort to thwart each other’s advance and name recognition by out-staging one another.

The idea that there was a grand strategy behind it all is one of the biggest jokes that has caused the lives of thousands of people in the last 2 years. Unfortunately, nobody is laughing. But I laugh each time Tapang Ivo reminds us that he has come up with more than 200 strategies for a successful revolution. Although he boasts of having presented 200 strategies, you might have noticed that nobody has ever seen them. Each time the revolution enters a new phase he announces that it was number so and so of his 200 strategies.

Ambazonia Defence Force Fighters

Take Tapang’s recent claim that he has a winning strategy for the war in one year. He points out that Cameroon has an army of 15.000 soldiers and that Ambazonia is divided into 13 counties. According to our world-class strategist, it is simple. If you divide 15.000 by 13 and ask every county in so-called Ambazonia to provide 1150 recruits to amba (And he means the ADF of Cho Ayaba) then you can win the war in one year. for such a brilliant strategist, it does not occur to him that Cameroon too can do the same and put four times as many soldiers in the field as Ambazonia. It has not occurred to him that soldiers from Cameroon will be better led as their officers have access to training in the best military schools all over the world while illiterates run amba camps in villages of Southern Cameroon.

It has not occurred to our ‘strategist’ that Cameroon goes into the field with the backing of the entire budget of the country No matter how much of it is embezzled). while amba has to make do with the ransom they get from kidnapping teachers and businessmen and their children.

The tragedy unfolding at present in the NW and SW regions is because 17 to 20-year-old boys who should be in school accept this childish pronouncement as truth and then go out and get themselves killed for nothing. The idea that the militant uprising was meant to prevent the army of Cameroon from killing innocent civilians is the biggest lie that has been told to our people. Amba has not stopped one house from being burnt or one person from being killed. Right now the greatest revolutionary achievements of amba in the NW and the SW region is that they have succeeded through terror to close the schools, to destroy business activities, to mastermind more than 10.000 kidnappings and ransom payments and to usher in a general state of lawlessness.

We are now reaching a stage where people long for the second class citizenship of LRP than the lawlessness of amba and the fancy of kids playing at revolutionaries. But I don’t think so. I think people now hate both especially when they see the incompetence of the government and the behaviour of the army around them.

Silence is a form of collusion.

Anguish of a Wife and Mother: Mrs Lilian Ayuk Tabe Speaks Out

He has been called many names – ranging from the President of Ambazonia to separatist leader. What many seem to forget is that Sisiku Tabe Ayuk was first and foremost, a father, husband, IT technician and Activist. When he stood up to demand for the freedom of English-Speaking Cameroonians from the enslavement they have been subjected to, Sisiku did not count on putting anyone in harm’s way, not least his own family.

Yet, Sisiku, through his quest for freedom, has sacrificed his job, family, and freedom. Reading from his family, one can only imagine what they are going through. What will Lilian tell their children, when they constantly ask – WHERE IS DADDY?

A vague idea of the anguish she and her family are going through and by extension, the families of all those who were abducted and have disappeared, are captured in this first statement she has issued since the disappearance of her husband.

Statement from the family of Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe

I need to start by thanking God for all good things come from Him, even difficult moments too.

With every passing day we are becoming more and more worried about the whereabouts of Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe. The last three weeks have been a nightmare, for all his family and friends and the people of former British territory Southern Cameroons (hereafter referred to Federal Republic of Ambazonia), not knowing where he is.

I issue this statement because we have reason to be worried for my husband’s life and safety and we know that the media, public, governments and organizations will pay attention.
Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe is a loving, caring, humble, and honest husband and father of my children. A trained and experienced computer engineer, he is calm and always desire to serve others and seek solutions toward improving human prosperity. These are the qualities that earned the confidence of Ambazonians who trusted him to lead legal and diplomatic efforts toward the independence restoration and international recognition of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia as a democratic and sovereign state.

My husband Julius is not a terrorist. He is not a criminal. Julius is an activist fighting for freedom, equality and justice in the land of our birth Ambazonia.

Julius and I last discussed on 5th January 2018, when he flew to Abuja ahead of a scheduled meeting with close members of the Interim Government of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia. The meeting, he told me, was to focus on the rising humanitarian need of Ambazonia refugees in Nigeria and indiscriminate killing, arrest, and destruction of property and businesses of unarmed citizens in our homeland by armed soldiers and paramilitary forces of La Republique du Cameroun and appointed government officials of President Paul Biya regime in Yaounde.

In the evening of 5th January 2018, Julius had not returned home and was unreachable via phone. On the of 6th January 2018, after several inquiries and consultations, we received information that my husband Julius and eleven other leadership members of Ambazonia Interim Government were abducted by Nigerian Security Service during their meeting at Nera Hotel in Abuja. For three weeks, no single person, including Nigerian human rights lawyers Femi Falana and Abdul Oroh and family members of the abducted leaders including myself have neither seen nor heard from one of the abductees.

On 28th January 2018, the two lawyers defending my husband and 11 others issued a statement indicating that the Government of Nigeria extradited the 12 leaders to Cameroon. On 29 January 2018, Cameroon government spokesperson Issa Tchiroma Bakary announced to Cameroun’s public and international community that 47 abductees in Nigeria including my husband Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe are in Cameroun’s territory and under custody. Until the announcement, my children and I still had no information of Julius’ whereabouts. Today is 31 January 2018, we have no proof that Julius and the 11 others are alive. And if they are alive, what are the charges against them and why have they not been allowed to talk to their families and to access legal due process under international law?

I did not choose to be born in Southern Cameroons. Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe and other 11 leaders did not choose to be born in Southern Cameroons either. Our children and grandchildren did not choose to be descendants of Southern Cameroons. More than 8 million of us within Ambazonia territory and worldwide did not choose to originate from Southern Cameroons. It is our land of birth and our ways of life are shaped by our common culture and values. We will all die Southern Cameroonians.

Hear my cry and that of my children. Hear the cry of thousands of spouses, children and family members of those who have been killed, injured, kidnapped, detained and are missing. We appeal to the international community and governments to urge Mr. Paul Biya to produce video footages of Julius Ayuk Tabe and 11 others, grant access to lawyers and family members to meet them, and free them because they are not criminals. Our appeal equally applies to all other activists illegally detained in prisons and unknown locations across Cameroun territory.

I call on fellow women, Amnesty International, the United Nations, Commonwealth, and African Union to act swiftly and decisively by offering to mediate on finding a political solution to the independence restoration struggle of Southern Cameroons.

Hear our voices. We are not terrorists. We are Ambazonians. We are fighting for freedom, sovereignty, and human dignity for millions of Southern Cameroonians. Our birth rights have been suppressed, our liberties erased, our political, cultural and economic freedoms denied for more than half a century by the Governments of La Republique du Cameroun.

By Mrs Lilian Ayuk Tabe