Anglophone Crisis: Ordeals of activists, business persons, others


A long and arduous search for activists backing the Anglophone crisis is under way amidst the ongoing unrest in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon. Faced with the deteriorating socio-political conditions and other security concerns, the Cameroon Government has, in a desperate attempt to calm the troubled waters, multiplied efforts at apprehending those considered the brains the crisis.

The manhunt culminated in the arrest of Mancho Bibixy, Tse Conrad, Penn Terence and others in January 2017, who were tried before the military Tribunal in Yaounde and each slammed maximum jail sentences to be at the Kongengui maximum Prison in Yaounde. Separatists leaders in the likes of Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, President of the self-styled state of Ambazonia was also arrested in Nigeria on January 5, 2018 alongside nine other members of his cabinet including Tassang Wilfred, Nfor Ngala Nfor, and Barrister Eyambe Ebai.

The government crackdown on Anglophone activists has since intensified with arbitrary arrests, detention, torture and extra-judicial killings becoming the new normal, human rights groups have said. The fate of many remains precarious. As security forces battle separatists, President Paul Biya has since taken a tough position on the crisis in the two English speaking regions. Guns have taken the place of dialogue and peace. Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla , Founder of the Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, CHRDA, Buea says many villages have been burnt, thousands of persons killed and thousands displaced internally and externally.

What started as a strike action by Common Law Lawyers and Anglophone Teachers has escalated into an arm struggle, characterized by civil disobedience, violence, intimidation, kidnappings and outright lawlessness, with the military allegedly burning down homes and villages of those considered “enemies of the state”. This includes activists, protest coordinators as well as leaders of all secessionists moving demanding for a Separate State of Southern Cameroon, like the Southern Cameroon National Council, SCNC.

Recent statistics by civil Society Organisations , who have declared Cameroon unsafe for activists and many innocent civilians indicates that, about 400 villages have been burnt down in the two English speaking regions, while about 80.000 people remain internally displaced, majority of whom are taking refuge in the forest. This, in addition to over 50.000 Anglophone Cameroonian that have assumed the status of refugees in Nigeria.

Meanwhile several activists and suspected innocent civilians caught in the web of the crisis both at home and abroad, are said to have been earmarked for arrest as a result of the crisis.

26-year-old Bea Agnes Tiku of  Metoko Bekondo , one of the restive villages in Mbonge Sub Division, Meme Division, South West Region is one of those who have been caught in the web of the ongoing arm conflict. Her ordeal started when her father was gunned down by the military sometimes in 2017, THE SUN gathered.

Bea Agnes Tiku on the run for fear of the unknown as military searchlight is on her

According to trusted sources, her father, who ran a provision shop in their village was coerced by separatist fighters otherwise known as ‘Amba Boys’ to support the crisis via the donation of food stuffs and financial assistance. For fear of his life, he constantly donated foodstuff and finances to them. Informed about this action, the military raided his shop; burnt down his shop and killed him, tagging the entire family “amba boys supporters”.

Bea Agnes Tiku who had gone to buy more goods for shop was hinted and advised to take refuge. Bea Agnes Tiku, like many others, fled to the forest. Her brother, Elangwe Namende, was arrested and remanded at the Buea Central Prison where he is still languishing.

According to close family sources, Bea Agnes was advised to escape for her life or leave Cameroon to where the respect of Human Rights is prime. Madam Ruth Wase Nekoli, is said to have been molested and tortured several times by the military to disclose the where about of her daughter, Bea Agnes Tiku. It is thus, clear that, Japheth Bea Nekoli in Metoko Bekondo, will be arrested if spotted in Cameroon. At press time, there were still reports of impromptu checks by security forces in their village.

As the crisis rages on, Human Rights Watch have documented multiple abusive counter insurgence operations by the security in the North West and South West Regions since 2017, which the its Central Africa Director Lewis Mudge has never failed to condemn.

Meantime the government has launched a manhunt for those alleged to be fanning the crisis both at home and abroad, with terrorism charges to be levied against them if arrested, as they have been declared wanted. Recently, French President Emmanuel Macron promised to exert ‘maximum pressure’ on President Paul Biya of Cameroon, to end Cameroon’s intolerable Human Rights violations.

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