BY ERNESTINE NGUM
The North West and South West regions of Cameroon have remained restive since the outbreak of the Anglophone crisis in 2017. Investigative findings and reports from many human rights groups and non-governmental organisations have condemned extrajudicial killings, by mostly the military, on innocent civilians including children and pregnant women, and the burning of houses.
The Cameroon government has, for over three years now, has been battling to arrest the situation but tensions continue to intensify with civilian population in the North West and South West Regions in peril, panic and pandemonium. Due to this confusion, and fear of the unknown, many youths and businessmen continue to go underground.
The SUN has it on good record that Peter Ngwenwo Ekokobe Fontem, a prolific Kumba-based electrician and lone Mobile Money Business Operators in his area, is currently on the run and military men have blacklisted him for siding with the separatist fighters. As we went to press his whereabouts remains a mystery since December 2021.
Peter Ngwenwo Ekokobe Fontem, reports say, has been arrested several times by security operatives and accused of using his money mobile transfer services to receive money from Anglophone activists abroad for onward transmission to separatist fighters to better arm them.
They are fighting for the independence former Southern Cameroons into a country they have christened Federal Republic of Ambazonia.
In one of his arrests and detentions Ngwenwo was only released after a month thanks to the intervention of family friends after the Police allegedly received a bribe of FCFA 500,000, including the FCFA 2,000,000 million that was in his phone. Sometime in December 2021, Peter Ngwenwo is reported to have received a call from a soldier, apparently the father his close friend, informing him that he has seen his name on a list of those who will be arrested to face trial at the Military Court in Yaounde and that he should go underground.
It should be recalled that Common Law Lawyers went to strike in October 2016 to protest government attempts to annihilate the Common Law practice in a constitutionally bilingual and bi-jural Cameroon. The strike lasted for over a year. Anglophone teachers in the country joined the strike on November 21, 2016 to uphold Anglo-Saxon values under threat in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions. 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.
Investigative findings from many human rights groups and nongovernmental organisations have in one voice condemned the extra-judicial killings by mostly the military on innocent civilians including children and pregnant women and burning of houses.
Reports say this situation has caused many to migrate to French Cameroon, while others have fled to neighbouring countries where they are living as refugees. According to statistics from human rights groups, over 7,000 persons have been killed, hundreds kidnapped, thousands of houses and over 400 villages razed with over 75,000 persons identified as internally displaced, with over 45,000 as refugees in Nigeria. Some have been left in constant fears either for the demise of their love ones or because their houses have been razed.
These attacks have been so alarming that human rights groups across the board have concluded that Cameroon is no longer safe.
As we went to Press, sources disclosed that since then Peter Ngwenwo Ekokobe Fontem’s whereabouts remains a misery as the military keeps parading the neighbourhood in Kumba where his family residence is located, searching for him and many other suspected Anglophone activists.