BY ENANGA MOKI
Reports across Cameroon’s North West and South West regions say many youths have gone underground for fear of reprisals from authorities as witch-hunting, scores-settling and extra-judicial killings take center stage.
Government repression, manhunt for alleged activists has intensified as the Anglophone Crisis deepens. The crisis that started in 2016 has since metamorphosed to an armed conflict.
Since the outbreak of the Anglophone Crisis in the North West and South West regions in 2016, human rights groups and non-governmental organizations have condemned the extrajudicial killings championed by state forces against unarmed civilians including children and pregnant women, burning of houses.
Reports indicate that about 5,000 civilians’ lives have been claimed by the arm conflict and about 750,000 have been displaced with many living horrible lives in neighboring Nigeria. The recent killings of civilians by the military in villages across the North West and South West regions of Cameroon have received widespread condemnation across the board including from the UN Secretary General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Union, the USA, UK, France, and the Nobel Women’s Initiative and Human Rights Watch. Many youths in the English-speaking North West and South West regions are reported to be entangled due to the Anglophone crisis.
Suspected activists who have been arrested have been either jailed or killed and their homes razed to the ground and majority of their family relatives killed. Many have gone underground; the whereabouts of many others remain cloudy. Homes of suspected activists, who are abroad for fear of the unknown, are constantly being investigated as the military keep on making impromptu visits thus injecting constant fear.
The government has earmarked many activists both at home and abroad for arrest. They have already been tagged as terrorists and those masterminding and supporting the crisis from their hideouts abroad, thus declaring them wanted. Rights groups have to continue to plea for the protection of these alleged activists who have been earmarked for persecution and prosecution if found in Cameroon. The Rights group concludes that Cameroon can only be a safe haven when the crisis must have been put to rest after a frank, honest, transparent and genuine dialogue.
A pathetic situation is that of Enokwei Yvette Ebitoh, a student who was excelling well in the pioneer Anglo-Saxon University in Cameroon, the University of Buea before the crisis. Her name is now making rounds amongst the military circles. She is reported to have gone for studies abroad in 2019 due to the frequent school boycotts, ghost towns called by the Separatist fighters and above all the frequent clashes between the separatists and military leading to the killing of innocent youths, civilians, the burning of home and razing of villages thus forcing locals to flee to the forest and living under miserable conditions for safety.
Reports say Enokwei’s situation is even more complicated because her elder brother became one of the separatist “generals” in Ekona, one of the resistive villages around Buea in the South West Region. The military immediately tagged the family as enemy of the state for siding with the separatist movement. The resultant consequence was that the military raided their residence in Ekona in 2021, unfortunately their amba “general” brother wasn’t home and the military arrested Enokwei’s father, Pa Enokwei Christopher her brother and cousin Enokwei Didien and Franklin Akom respectively. While Enokwei’s father according to family sources was later on released due to his poor health condition, her brother and cousin still remain in jail. As we went to Press, the whereabouts of one other cousin, Henry Akom still remains cloudy. The military continues to make impromptu checks to the Enokwei’s family residence in Ekona all in a mission to eliminate the entire family including Enokwei Yvette Ebitoh who have already been declared wanted by the military. A security searchlight has been placed on her throughout the national territory even though a victim of circumstance amidst the armed conflict in the restive North West and South West regions.
The war still rages on and many more killings by the military are still being documented by Rights organizations. The government has launched a man hunt for those alleged to be fanning the crisis both at home and abroad. Terrorism charges hang on them if arrested as they have been declared wanted.