By EVELYN KUBU
As the armed conflict rocking the North West and South West regions, which has since escalated into an armed conflict, rages on, health and humanitarian workers are bearing the brunt.
The health and humanitarian workers have been caught between the Ambazonia separatist fighters and government defence and security forces. While the separatist fighters have sometimes kidnapped and also killed some health and humanitarian workers, defence and security forces have, on their part, been arresting any health and humanitarian worker accused of having links with separatists or providing healthcare and humanitarian assistance to seperatists.
The arrested workers are being detained under horrible conditions. Some have reportedly died in detention. It is in this light that many of them have fled into hiding.
One of such humanitarian workers, who has borne the brunt of the armed conflict is Daiga Dylan Bambot Forkwa, who worked with Non‐Governmental Organisation, Kenko Foundation, based in Buea. The organisation has a mission to tackle health inequality in the central African sub region by ensuring that local populations have equal access to healthcare services.
In mid July, while working in Malende, a village in the South West region, Daiga Dylan and his team provided first aid and food to some separatist fighters who had been wounded. But their action did not go down well with the military. Daiga’s supervisor is said to have been questioned by the military, who reportedly told him that whoever was in the team of his organisation that provided aid to the Ambazonia fighters will be killed for helping enemies of the state.
Meanwhile, the military later stormed the Buea residence of Daiga’s parents, looking for him. But they did not find him there. Daiga is said to have later gone into hiding.
As if that was not enough ordeal for him, separatist fighters also accused Daiga and his team of being informants and disclosing their hideouts to the military. The separatists are said to have threatened his father several times, saying their will eliminate the whole of his family.
On September 11, Daiga Dylan was attacked on his way home. He suffered some injuries from the attack and was later treated in hospital. It remains unclear who attacked him, but the attackers are suspected to have been separatists.
That same month the military stormed his house, looking for him. Daiga since then has been on the run. The military has constantly been going to his house, hunting for him. One if his colleagues, whose name we got as Agbor Emmanuel, is said to have been arrested by the military, manhandled and detained. His lifeless body was later found on the banks of a river in Manyu division of the South West region. He had been shot. Two other colleagues of his, Jules Ebonje and Fru Damian, have also been declared missing.
For fear of his life, Daiga Dylan Bambot Forkwa is said to have fled and his whereabouts is not known. If arrested by the military, he will be tried in a military tribunal, under the anti-terrorism law, whose maximum punishment is the death penalty. That is if he is not killed outright like many others who have been victims of extrajudicial killings.
Meanwhile, if the separatists lay hands on Daiga, it is certain they will kill him like many others who have been victims of separatist fighter’s atrocities in the North West and South West regions.
Origin of the crisis
It is worth recalling that the Anglophone crisis, something that pundits say had been brewing for several years, boiled over in 2016 when Common Law Lawyers in the North West and South West regions went on strike, paralyzing the courts. They were demanding for a return to the federal system of government, redeployment of Civil Law Magistrates back to Civil Law Courts among other grievances. Not long after, teachers in the North West and South West regions also went on strike, demanding the redress of several issues concerning the English sub-system of education.
Things got worse when concerned citizens in the North West and South West regions, who had been fed up with the unfavourable political and especially economic stagnation of Cameroon at large, but more importantly in these regions, joined the strike.
But after negotiations with the teachers and lawyers ended in deadlock, the government banned the Southern Cameroons National Council, SCNC, and the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium, CACSC. Some of the leaders of the Consortium such as Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho and Dr. Fontem Niba were immediately arrested while others such as Barrister Bobga Harmony and
Tassang Wilfred fled into hiding.
It should be recalled that leaders of the Anglophone separatist movements including Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and nine others, who were arrested in Abuja, Nigeria in January 2018 and later extradited to Yaounde were in August 2019, handed life jail sentences.
It is also worth noting that many people, both civilians and security forces, have been killed in the crisis, many more internally displaced and over 30,000 have fled to neighbouring Nigeria where they are living as refugees.
While the Anglophone crisis continues to escalate, international organisations and other western powers have called on the government to address the root cause of the crisis through inclusive dialogue.