SCNC activists flee Cameroon as crackdown by security forces intensifies

By Njah Nformi in Bamenda

Many activists belonging to the Southern Cameroon National Council, SCNC, are on the run following heavy military crackdown, The SUN has learnt.

This follows detention and torture inflicted on them by government forces in the wake of sustained protests by pro-independence and pro-federalist groups in the country since 2016.

It all started in Buea and Bamenda capitals of the Southwest and Northwest regions of Cameroon. A peaceful protest by lawyers who were later on joined by teachers and students, turned ugly when they were beaten up and arrested by the military.

The military shot at the population who had joined the protests. Many were beaten up, others wounded and some even later died.

Before 2016, however, SCNC activists have been constantly harassed, detained, tortured for carrying out protests mostly at the approach of every October 1,a day they consider the Independence Day of the Southern Cameroons as opposed to re-unification day.

A particular case in point which The SUN has learnt about from sources is that of 22-year-old Fomajo Dapeu-Marius who was born in Bamenda and has grown up reading a lot of SCNC literature and has become a committed convert.

Fomajo Dapeu-Marius, 22: Running from government crackdown

Fomajo was detained in the central prison of Bamenda for 3 weeks in October by government forces because he took part in the peaceful manifestations and protests. These manifestations, according to the security forces, were “banned and therefore illegal”.Before his arrest and detention in 2017, he underwent a similar fate in 2016 spending one week in the dungeons of the Bamenda Central Prison.

As a die-hard member of the SCNC, Fomajo Dapeu-Marius took active part in some of the meetings organized by the movement and which the forces, comprising military, gendarmes and police violently interrupted and proceeded with wanton arrests of leaders, members and supporters to prevent them from participating in meetings.

The government it should be noted considers the SCNC an illegal organization because it advocates secession, which the law prohibits.

Fomajo was forced to flee the country after a man-hunt was launched to capture him. Things had gotten worse for him as his parents got killed in the massive massacres by the francophone-dominated military who had descended on the North West and South West regions, inflicting what somehave termed a “genocide” on the English-speaking population.

It should be noted that on September 22 there were massive peaceful protests across the length and breadth of the North West and South West regions calling for either a return to a two-state federation which was scrapped in 1972 or independence for the Southern Cameroon.

The protests shook the government to its foundation as men, women, youths, children came out in their numbers in all the nooks and crannies of the two regions. The protests were called by a body called Interim Ambazonia government based out of the country Sessekou Ayuk Tabe.

Not to be undone a second time government put all security forces on alert against any demonstrations on October I. This didn’t deter the groundswell determination of Southern Cameroonians who defied government restrictions.

The result was an avoidable bloody confrontation followed by massive arrests and torture of unarmed protesters. The continued crackdown has pushed many to flee the country like Fomajo Dapeu-Marius.


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