The Way Forward:
AMBAZONIA/AMBALAND says a final good-bye to illegal occupier Cameroon, to the neo-colonial treaties of dependency between Cameroon and France, to the payment of colonial taxes to France and Swiss banks, to France's puppet dictator Biya, and to the world's collusion with the corruption of the African Union by Françafrique and IMF.
Here are further ideas for the way forward towards the restoration of independence of Ambazonia/Ambaland, towards defeating the illegal occupier French Cameroun on Ambazonian territory, and towards developing Ambazonia/Ambaland into a role model of good self-governance, modern infrastructure buildup and stability creation for the whole region:
All non-violent forms of dialogue and negotiations in order to avoid genocide shall be exploited as long as it is made clear that French Cameroun has no rights to occupy, exploit or rule in the foreign country Ambazonia and that every member of the Biya regime is illegal because they were never elected by the people and because of many other reasons regarding lawlessness. Concessions towards the Biya regime can only be time-limited to save civilians' lives and must not question Ambazonia's sovereignty or reduce Ambazonia's military strength.
All Ambazonian defense forces, no matter how the various units call themselves so far, have to be supported by direct donations and high quality materials, by giving honor and rewards or higher ranks to the best soldiers, and by keeping all internal struggles secret until they are worked out. The supreme general(s) has/have to be determined by the footsoldiers on ground zero and he/they must be able to show both professional military and political-philosophical training in his/their CV. They must have proven their loyalty to the Ambazonian revolution in successful battles. Diaspora leaders have to subordinate in military questions under these generals until Buea is reached.
First comes liberation than comes governing. You can't govern anything while you don't have a land to govern yet. But the preparation of governmental departments and international representation of the Ambazonian people in form of an IG does make sense and is necessary. The IG just needs to follow the orders of the nationalist groups on Ground Zero until Buea is reached and not the other way round.
Attacks on the enemy on his own territory must never be announced! The enemy shall never get the opportunity to paint Ambazonians as attacking terrorists. In fact, liberation fighters, who only defend their homeland on their own territory are never terrorists, as long as they don't commit crimes on uninvolved civilians. Ambazonia leaves rebellion inside French Cameroun officially to the French Camerounese people. Francophones who oppose Biya and necolonialism are welcomed in Ambazonia.
Every Ambazonian citizen on ground zero and in diaspora has to bring a sacrifice and make a contribution to the homeland defense & relief, be it by money or by muscles or by brains. The Ambazonian People have to stand behind the Ambazonian homeland defense & relief like one man. Everyone has to say a final and unshakable "NO!" to that nonsense puppet Biya regime of puppet player Françafrique! Those who still think they can continue their habit of managing with La Regime on collaboration basis, have to be declared enemy of state of Ambazonia. The many undecided or coward fence sitters shall be made convinced that decades of neo-colonial mal-governance, corruption and subjugation are enough and now is the time to kick the octopus a final good-bye and therefore and because of the many suffering people it's a duty to participate in that.
The philosophy of strength and deterrence is more effective for regaining peace and stability than the Stockholm Syndrome behavior of obeying your own rapist and killer.
All Ambazonian defense units shall agree to be called Ambazonia State Forces on international stage. Ambazonians shall stop to call their military "Amba boys" or "rebel groups", because that gives the international community the impression the Ambazonian way of defense would be illegal or as war-criminal as Biya's troops.
All Ambazonian politicians in French Cameroun and all French Camerounese politicians in Ambazonia have to stop working for a foreign government and come back home immediately! If they don't they need to be forced. Nobody elected them anyway, because the election was rigged by Biya.
Federalism with that evil regime in Yaounde hasn't worked for decades and it will never work. Theoretically a confederacy between Ambazonia and French Cameroun like in Canada or Switzerland is possible, but not with that Biya regime. Only after Yaounde has not only shown regime change but also a system change by forms of replacement of the old constitution by a new constitution, then this option may come on the table of negotiation, but that will not happen soon and as long as it has not happened, independence is the only option for Ambazonia. So in international debate and diplomacy Ambazonian delegations shall offer 2 things: 1.) Demanding end of illegal annexation by French Cameroun and of recognizing Ambazonia as independent state, and 2.) Offering the possibility of a Confederacy between Ambazonia and Cameroun with two different capitals, governments, constitutions, currencies under the condition that there was not only regime change but system change in Yaounde. The Ambazonia leadership must be able to show in detail, what must be changed in the Camerounese constitution, so that no dictator or foreign country can overrule democracy and self-governance anymore.
The world has to be taught that democracies cannot and must not dialogue on the same eye level with tyrants, war criminals, mafia bosses of crime syndicates, election riggers, state terrorists like Biya and his cronies, but true democrats must prosecute, defeat and imprison these enemies of mankind in the first place. It's like the police shall also not be on a dialogue basis with gangsters. Foreign government and media officials have to be confronted with: "Since when is it the tradition of your democratic state to support dictatorships? Why do you approve to France betraying her French Revolution now in Africa? Why is oil and gas on Ambazonian soil not belonging to Ambazonians but Swiss banks?" Ambazonians have to throw the neo-colonizer's double standards back into the neo-colonizers' faces right away! There is no "Anglophone probleme", but there is a big big Non-African-support-for-African-dictators-and-exploiters-problem!
Ambazonians shall replace the French narrative of “Anglophone probleme” or “secessionists” by the slogans: “Cameroon's problem of French mismanagement", “Françafrique’s problem of maintaining neo-colonial dependency”, “Ambaland says NO to Françafrique and YES to the future!”, “Africa says NO to the Françafrique and YES to the European Marshall Plan With Africa, under conditions!”, "There is no civil war in Cameroon but a war between two nations and one is the illegal attacker and the other is the legitimate defender!", "Anglophones have no problems with Francophones, but all have problems with the Biya regime and puppet holder France!", "Ambazonians are modern democrats and help the US in the war on terror!", "Neither white-on-black-colonialism nor black-on-black-colonialism is an option!", "Africa is ripe to govern itself, because African elites are as educated as Non-African elites now!", "Russia built a clinic in the Central African Republic and Ambazonia invites the Russians too!".
The Ambazonian leadership has to unite all groups and IG further by working out a binding declaration of collaboration rules, by drafting the future best possible constitution for Ambazonia together, by subordinating under the most successful generals on ground zero, by joint operations against saboteurs, by frequent informal meetings or phone conferences of all leaders, by sending common delegations to friendly foreign governments, especially anti-Françafrique-governments in the African Union, and to potential big-time sponsors, by synchronizing the Ambazonian leaders' and activists' press releases, by sending the same truth-telling info-letter, signed by all leaders, to parliamentarians, journalists, organizations, newspapers and TV stations worldwide and by empowering the strongest and most legitimate, competent, loyal supreme military leader to do the most effective guerilla defense of the homeland.
Internal opinion differences between groups or government shall not be fought out openly by slandering around in social media but shall be worked out be encouraging sub-leaders around leaders to discuss deeper and undertake possible corrections.
All Ambazonian groups and the IG have to connect more to positive international economic, education and political reform & help organizations. Yes, Ambazonia must focus on the military part of the liberation, but this part must be legitimized by portraying Ambazonia in the best light internationally: "Ambazonia, the tropical paradise of human progress, democratic development, economic boom and cultural highlights!" Ambazonians shall not only tell the world about the humanitarian catastrophe and war crimes, but also about the land's beauties and potentials, so that they win sympathies.
People who have gone to the congratulation party of election rigger Mr. Biya, who have ordered or helped war crimes, or who have helped La Regime to steal resources from the Ambazonians, shall be dispossessed, depowered and expatriated from Ambazonia forever.
Ambazonians have to support the "anti-sardine"-movement east of the Mungo river and help every rebel against the Biya regime no matter from which origin. At the same time every fence sitter who did not do any contribution for the revolution yet, has to be admonished .to make a decision and to either help the anti-Biya-movement or to get out of Ambazonia.
Ambazonians need to join all anti-Francafrique-movements in every former French colony and learn from their successes. The will to remove any present and future puppet dictator of Francafrique from power by all means must be instilled in every Ambazonian, Camerounese and African man and woman.
All Ambazonian leaders must declare to quit the French Community of Africa (CFA) and to establish an Ambazonian National Bank, which issues Amba currency. The "Accordes de Cooperation" treaties between Cameroon and France, which had been signed by dictator Ahijo and Charles de Gaulle, have to be declared null and void by Ambazonia.
The wind of change on social and mainstream media has to be developed into a hurricane of global size. The Ambazonians shall not only tell the world about their plights and Biya's crimes, but also about the beauty, richness and potentials of Ambaland. "Ambaland - the most ill-treated, but promising, sympathetic, rich land in the world!" in the discussions with foreigners and especially Europeans who call themselves democrats it has to be pointed out that throwing the guilty rapist attacker Biya-Cameroun and the innocent raped one defender Ambazonia all into one and the same pot is in itself a crime. Cameroun is occupying Ambazonia, Ambazonia is NOT occupying Cameroun!
The main dynamo of the revolution is on "ground zero" (in the homeland Ambazonia) and not in the Ambazonian diaspora all over the world. Ground zero shall force in an anti-tribalist, pro-nationalist block by block and county by county approach the corrupted chiefs who still take bribes from La Regime to quit and bring a new, more promising, more educated generation to power, who will promote the profound clean-up of that what some still call "Cameroon" but what is now officially called the two nations Ambazonia and Cameroun. The military defeat of the Biya regime and all his slave dogs in Ambazonia will also lead to their defeat in French Cameroun, especially when Ambazonia helps the anti-sardine-movement east of the Mungo, which they shall do.
Ambazonian chiefs, lawyers and government officials who still participate in French Camerounese councils, associations, parliaments shall be expatriated, dispossessed and shamed.
A referendum of all Ambazonians about the question "You want Ambazonia to be independent, Yes or No?" shall be prepared in a way so that it becomes unriggable by Biya's regime or Nigeria. It may have a predecessor online poll, accompanied by a citizenship registration and passport application. International observers shall be invited under the conditions that they don't allow the foreign countries French Cameroun or Nigeria and its officials to meddle anything on the territory of Ambaland.
Since the big powers in Europe, America and Asia are not really interested in allowing new small states in Africa, the Ambazonians have to focus on getting help from African governments and VIPs, who are genuinely anti-Francafrique and anti-dictatorships. The forging of alliances with those has to be done in secret diplomacy and they have to come to a conclusion about how to build up the strongest possible, coordinated Ambazonian State Forces, led by the most professional generals, and how these generals can withstand the tries of Francafrique to buy them over or to assassinate. Targeted diplomacy shall not go empty handed or disunited to other African power brokers but show up with a decent economic plan and constitutional reform proposal in the pocket. These plans shall include Ambazonia's future membership in ECOWAS, BRICS, AU and UN as a full state, but also how Ambazonia wants to handle with the former enemy after his defeat in a fair manner.
When foreign parliaments, international organizations, the Commonwealth or the EU propose a "negotiated settlement" between "Anglophone Southern Cameroons" and "Francophone Cameroun", then the Ambazonian leadership shall quote the former US Under-Secretary of State for African Affairs, Herman Cohen, who negotiated independence for Eritrea from Ethiopia and who said that Cameroon will never be able to win the war against her people and that Ambazonia and Cameroun shall return to the status of a federation of two states, equal in status. Because equality in status means both state will get their own capital, own government, own constitution, own army, own embassies and own currency each. That is exactly the solving of the root of the problem in Cameroon.
The country, people and president of Rwanda play a key role in helping Ambazonia into recognition of independence. President Kagame is also holder of the rotating presidency of the African Union and he has the power and will to stand up against Françafrique. He can mobilize other African countries' governments against French neocolonialism and exploitation of Ambazonia by multinational corporations. And he can point out to the European Union that Françafrique violates the European Marshall Plan With Africa. The Ambazonians must urge all their leaders to speak in one voice to President Kagame. The African Union has to pressure Great Britain and France to stop doing only lip confessions or "crisis management" and start recognizing Ambazonia and French Cameroun (new native name Sanagia?) as two independent countries, who step out of the CFA currency zone. The African Union has to point out how France is guilty of running all former colonies in Africa down, and the African Union has to formulate ways how the collusion between France, Belgium, IMF and World Bank to continue the robbery of Africa will be stopped.
The case of Ambazonia has to be brought before the United Nations General Assembly and there especially UNGA resolution 1608 must be revived again. Ambazonia has to lobby for that especially in the 64 countries which voted for SC's independence in 1961.
Prof Lumumba from Kenya sent a petition concerning "Southern Cameroons" to the AU in May 2018. Also . .Join him in this!
The AU, EU, US and UN have to recognize the decision of the African Union Court in Banjul, The Gambia, to recognize the Ambazonians (former Southern Cameroonians) as a sovereign people.
Every foreign government and international organization has to be informed that the numbers of a few hundred killed and a few tens of thousands internally displaced Ambazonians are incorrect and the real numbers are at least 6000 killed Ambazonians and about a million internally displaced ones.
Everybody should listen to "Ambazonia Calling" on Youtube and ABC TV, SCBC TV, Cry TV, Equinox and ABN, and destroy the many lies on state censored CRTV of French Cameroun.
Every country, every organization and everybody, especially the Church people, have to stop treating and calling Biya as a "president". He was never elected in unmanipulated elections, so he has no legitimacy. Before the Vatican and all other religious and political institutions, especially the AU, the dis-recognition of Biya and all other government members who are participating in his illegality and crimes has to be demanded loud and clear! Priests, bishops, cardinals and chiefs who still collude with the Biya regime by some kind of toleration and support his genocide by some kind of crawling before power shall be warned not to continue with this cowardice or they shall be expelled. The Church and the world have to be taught that Biya burnt all the election ballots after the election and that this disqualifies for being a president or head of state.
All operational and logistic secrets of the Ambazonian State Forces have to be kept secret reliably. Social media activists and leaders and all soldiers have to swear a blood oath on that. There shall be a code of honor which forbids war crimes, torture on Ambazonians, capital punishment of captives, and taking ransom from anybody else than collaborators with the enemy. Every fighter has to learn the Ambazonian Code of Honor and the principles the new constitution is standing on so that he knows what he is fighting for. Military tribunals have to keep to the Convention of Geneva and to the Ambazonian Code of Honor. The fight has to focus on cutting the ideological, monetarian and supply life lines of the enemy and the enemy is the regime not the Francophones. The enemy's lying narratives have to be destroyed by sending out propaganda of truth everywhere in the world, especially to Francophones. The infowar is at least 50% of the war and it requires that every Ambazonian is firing the constitutional and historical truth about Ambazonia to as many parliamentarians, journalistis, organizations and VIPs worldwide as possible nonstop!
The Ambazonian State Forces have to take the late Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, who was president and called the Che Guevara of Africa, as their role model and think hard, how his fate of being assassinated by an agent of France can be avoided in case of any Ambazonian leader. One key for preventing Françafrique's power grab in Ambazonia is to educate every single Ambazonian about the methods of the French foreign secret service in Africa and about how Ambazonia builds up counter intelligence. Other role models are Sekou Toure, Mariam Ngwabi, Gilles Olympio, Laurent Ggbabo, Gaddafi and Mandela.
To win influential Nigerians who stand behind Ambazonia/Ambaland and help with safe havens and supply with materials and support for the refugees is crucial for the success of the liberation. But this shall not lead to a sell-out to Nigeria. The art of the deal shall promise: "With Ambazonia you shall do better business than with French Cameroun, but we won't let you rob us either." The American Universities in the east of Nigeria and Ghana shall be natural allies, to help also the education development plan of Ambazonia. The military side of the revolution has to wear a big protective "coat" of civic action which appears good and sympathetic to the world.
Whoever is responsible for the abduction of Ambazonian leaders or soldiers shall be held accountable indefinitely and must face interrogations as often as the Ambazonians say is needed. The clown courts of La Regime cannot be taken seriously. No Camerounese court is legal, because the whole government of Cameroun is illegal, because it was never elected by the people. Therefore Ambazonians must deny to recognize any Camerounese court order until there was regime change in Yaounde by forms of a true unmanipulated, democratic election and also a consitutional change which forbids the president to appoint judges, because the judiciary has to be independent in any Republic.
Any Ambazonian economic plan should not totally exclude France, but work out contracts with corporations from all nations which are based on fair deals which do not exploit any Ambazonian or Camerounese citizen anymore and do not make any individual too rich either. Ambazonia needs foreign knowhow and investments, but foreign corporations will have to sign contracts which do respect the ownership of the Ambazonian territory and resources by the Ambazonians and of the Camerounese territory and resources by the Camerounese and which will comply to hiring and training of certain quota of Ambazonians in Ambazonia and of Camerounese in Cameroun. Every corporation which comes here only to exploit will have to leave. Foreign corporations can only get a low percentage of the profits out of resource excavation. The Ambazonian negotiation delegations shall not drive "everything or nothing" with foreign powers, but say "we let you continue robbing our resources, if you reduce your robbery from 95% to 5% and you may get more if you help us to train our workers and to build our infrastructure!"
All foreign companies which made deals with the Biya regime to exploit resources from Ambazonia shall feel hell break loose at their facilities in Ambaland, if they don't comply with Ambazonian demands. Their headquarters and CEOs shall be character assassinated in the media with the slogan "STOP stealing OUR oil, OUR timber, OUR minerals from OUR Ambaland!"
ARCC, IG, SCCOP and all groups on GZ have to write down a declaration of consensus about their common goals, their collaboration rules and their common constitution development for the (Federal) Republic of Ambazonia. This declaration of consensus needs to include rules which define what happens to any group or leader who breaks the rules. It would be optimal if all leaders sign that declaration and comply with the future punishment for violating the consensus rules.
The Ambazonians shall read the African Charters of Democracy, Elections and Governance and list all charters and paragraphs the Biya regime has violated so far and present that list to the governments of all African countries. The legal teams of the IG, SCCOP and ARCC shall form a common task force which promotes sueing Biya & Co before the AU Court and ICC. The UN is not moving much so far because the AU is not moving much so far in regards to Cameroon and Biya, so the anti-Francafrique governments in the AU have to be mobilized to help that task force.
Every Ambazonian political group which still has "SC" in its name, standing for "Southern Cameroons", should replace this "SC" by an "A", standing for Ambazonia/Ambaland, because the President of Ambazonia declared independence of "Ambazonia" on Oct. 1st 2017 and not of the "southern part of any colony", and because independent states have independent names; America is also not called "Western Englands" or "Southern Canada", right? And towards international organizations who still seem to use the name "Southern Cameroons" the Ambazonians shall wear their head higher and more proudly and insist on being called "Ambazonians". In general Ambazonians need to stop defining their identity upon what colonizers do, think, wish. Camerounese should also do so.
The US Bureau of African Affairs has defined 4 pillars of US Africa policy. Ambazonian leaders can show to this Bureau that Ambazonia is fulfilling the criteria for all of the 4 pillars. See here: and .
Here is a letter of a deserter of the French Camerounese occupier army, it is very necessary to translate it into French and to send it to as many of the enemy soldiers as possible: "Letter from a deserter soldier to his comrades in the disputed area of Ambazonia. ... Hello comrades! .... Today I resolved to abandon my silence to give you the reasons for my desertion. We have all signed for honor and fidelity to our homeland. I can tell you that it is this honor and loyalty that guided my decision. Since the beginning of this dirty war we have only obeyed orders sheepishly. "If you are asked to kill, then you kill," the instructors told us in Koutaba. And we ended up integrating this unhealthy and torturous philosophy, this annihilating philosophy that makes us wild beasts tamed by a group of "rational" beings who use us to achieve their ways and to protect their power. We ended up believing that our role was to kill and that we were finally good at it. No ! Our role is not to kill, but to protect the integrity of our territory and the people who live there by all means, including the killing. That's what we did in the far north. This is what we were supposed to do in these two regions of our English-speaking West. But what did we do instead? Violent comrades of young civilian girls, looting families, executing men, setting fire to their homes, burning their grandparents, setting villages on fire, torturing mothers of children in mud and dirt, all under the direct orders of the superiors. Look, for those comrades who have gone up to the Far North at least once, how many villages have we burned there? How many civilians did we kill and how many women did we rape? These horrendous massacres that we are being executed are tinged with political calculations motivated by selfishness and the egocentrism of the small group that directs us. Why should we fire on fellow citizens who decide to invade the streets to show their anger, their indignation at the contempt of this government that privatizes their wealth? Why do we have to rape a poor student who decides to say no to university corruption? Why murder his father and burn his grandmother just because they tell you they do not know any terrorist? To motivate us in these drifts they told us that lawyers, teachers, students were manipulated by Western countries eager for oil. But dear comrades, let's wake up !! Where are the revenues from the exploitation of this oil going for more than 20 years? And those of gas? Illegal dictator Mr. Paul Biya and entourage have done it. They do not report to anyone. Do you find normal that a head of state exploits on his own account the riches of the subsoil of a region? And moreover without ever building schools, drinking water points? Without offering employment to children in this region? There is no external manipulation. These people are fighting for their well-being, and for yours too. Look at you!! Look at your living conditions !! Your premiums are withheld by selfish and inhuman superiors, your equipment is defective. Your days you spend them in the mud, the cold, the vermin in permanent contact with blood and death, always death. How many of our comrades have fallen these days? And why? This wars against the civilians is a genocide. That's why I deserted! Because I understood that this war did not serve the integrity of our territory or even protect the populations of terrorists. Orders are given to erase them from the map, their villages with. These people are not terrorists. In 2008 we were already killing nearly 200 Cameroonians because they had dared to be indignant at the excessive increase in food prices. They were not terrorists either. It is thanks to this people that we eat in our families. It is with his money that this government buys the weapons with which we fight it; so who are the real terrorists? The people are taken hostage. Our task and release it. We have to act! .... Comrades, we can stop this madness; if we are numerous; if the ministers, the generals, the military commissions, the prosecutors and the judges in the pay of the state can not scare us. .... Refuse to become cannon fodder, do not agree to go humbly to the barracks to be killed or, even worse, to kill yourself. Do not participate any more in the military crimes of this regime: neither as executioners at the front nor, behind, as accomplices. .... They can scare us, they can threaten us, they can violate laws and the Constitution, they can even put us in jail. But one thing they can never do is force us to serve them and become their accomplices. Their famous "strength" comes from our uncertainty, our fear, our indifference. We are stronger than them because they need us to exist. Accept to react and act for the people. It is this people that counts. Do like me, desert! And we will together form a block to fight against these terrorists in suits that mishandle the people. .... Kand Owalski."
We have to understand, that as long as the IG and all groups don't make the "constitutionality doctrine" their center point in their agenda, all GZ-fight will lead right into genocide without getting Ambazonia's independence recognized by anybody. We all need to DEMAND from all leaders of all groups or interim governments to tell us, on which constitution they are standing Ambazonia. Everyone has to READ the new constitution! It needs to be democratic, modern, anti-colonialist, anti-corruption and make clear, that the Republic of Ambazonia is NOT in any federation with LRC whatsoever and that Ambazonia has got her own government, capital, army, currency, and that it steps out of treaties with France and CEMAC and into ECOWAS. It is not correct to say the drafting of a new, best possible constitution has to wait until Ambazonia is reconquered, because this drafting takes time and when the Ambazonian State Forces reach Buea there is no time for amending a still deficient constitution.
Every documentation about the war crimes of the enemy needs to show who did what when where why. That needs to be done very thoroughly and then sent to not only human rights organizations but as many parliamentarians, journalists, organizations and VIPs in the world as possible.
So far the Interim Government of Ambazonia was not elected by the people, neither was any of the nationalist groups and movementsw. Therefore in the next All-Ambazonian Congress of the People, a leadership team shall be elected, with candidates from all groups and IG.
More ideas to come ...
More ideas about the way forward may also come from the written statement by Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho, Founder and Chairman of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, to the U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS on June 27, 2018:
Good afternoon, Chairman Christopher Smith, Ranking Member Karen Bass and Esteemed Members of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organisations. Thank you for this opportunity to make a statement before you. Thank you as well for highlighting the crisis in Cameroon. The people of Southern Cameroons and all Cameroonians will highly appreciate this hearing on the prolonged crisis.
I am Felix Agbor Nkongho, a human rights lawyer, nonviolent activist and founder of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA). The views I express in this testimony are my own and will represent shared sentiments from Southern Cameroonians and Cameroonians.
Over the last 20 months, Cameroon has been the focus of a nation sliding into civil war in Africa, from what started in November 2016 as legitimate grievances by English-speaking lawyers, teachers, students and civil society over the prolonged marginalisation of Southern Cameroonians but peaceful protests turned deadly when the government military shot at peaceful protesters, wounding many and killing several. In my capacity as leader of the lawyers, teachers and civil society organisations who presented the government with grievances, we equally made ourselves available to dialogue for a quick solution. Unfortunately, during the dialogue process, the government rejected talks over a return to federalism which existed from 1961-1972 which guaranteed bilingualism, biculturalism, bijuralism, equal opportunity for all, and provided constitutional provisions for power sharing, economic independence and freedoms. To the dismay of the national, regional and international community, the Cameroon government began arresting activists and leaders including myself. Internet was shut down for 3 months and all forms of dissent were stifled, forcing hundreds into exile. I was charged before the military court with several counts including terrorism, which carried the death penalty. This sparked
radicalization of the population and reignited the quest for complete independence of the territory, Southern Cameroons. After several months of protests and calls for the release of all detainees, François Lonseny Fall, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) visited the maximum security prison where we had a meeting, after which he called on the government to release leaders and other detainees.
In August 2017, President Paul Biya ordered the release of several detainees including myself but avoided dialogue prompting mass protest in September 2017 with estimated 500,000 people. The government’s response was a brutal crackdown which led to a declaration of independence on October 1, 2017. While approximately 900,000 unarmed protesters were celebrating this declaration, government troops shot at thousands with automatic rifles and helicopters, this marked the start of military attacks upon villages, orders for villages to be evacuated, mass exodus of villagers into Nigeria creating 50,000 refugees and 200,000 internally displaced persons today. All of these prompted an armed campaign by civilians to defend their villages and homes, leading to full-blown armed insurgency.
Cameroon has many features of crisis ridden countries, including its hyper centralized government, weak institutions, endemic corruption, regional tensions, political manipulations, rigged elections and a personalized leadership. While Boko Haram remains a threat to stability and security, the Southern Cameroons crisis represents a more deadly and serious armed conflict which could last longer if not solved. Boko Haram has killed 200 soldiers, gendarmes and policemen including 1900 civilians in 4 years but the Southern Cameroons crisis has killed 90 soldiers, gendarmes and policemen including 3000 civilians in 8 months of armed conflict.
A solution to the Southern Cameroons crisis does not represent a solution to the Cameroon problem, likewise a solution to the Cameroon problem does not address and solve the Southern Cameroons crisis.
Background of the Southern Cameroons crisis
The birth of the Federal Republic of Cameroon on 1s t October 1961 marked the reunification of two territories that had undergone different colonial experiences since World War I. The erstwhile German Kamerun was partitioned between the French who practiced assimilation and the British with indirect rule. Cameroon is a country in Central Africa often described as Africa in miniature but has come to the spotlight lately due to crisis of identity and cultural assimilation of the minority English-speaking people. The Southern Cameroons problem popularly known as the Anglophone Crisis is as old as the country Cameroon. It is the expression of a poorly managed decolonisation process, that saw two distinct (British Southern Cameroons and French Cameroon) people come together to form a country void of any real foundations that could
guarantee coexistence. A country that has only had two presidents since independence in 1961 with the present Head of State spending close to 4 decades in office.
Cameroon holds a strategic position in the gulf of guinea (rich in crude oil and critical for the stability of West and Central Africa) and is also the main link between these two regions of Africa. Marred with extensive corruption, authoritarian rule, absence of any form of civil rights, poor governance and innate nepotism, the call for greater autonomy by Southern Cameroonians (Anglophones) has never been this resounding as it is today. The Southern Cameroonians otherwise called by the central government as Anglophones, have come to realise that, their place in the failed union with the majority French Cameroon has been nothing less than recolonization characterised with systematic marginalisation, discrimination and subhuman treatment.
History of Southern Cameroons
The Southern Cameroons has a surface area of 43,000 sq. km and a current population of about 8 million people. It is thus demographically bigger than at least 60 UN and 18 AU Member States, and spatially bigger than at least 30 UN and 12 AU Member States. The territory was originally British from 1858-1887. It was ceded to Germany and subsequently incorporated into the contiguous German protectorate of Kamerun, which had been acquired earlier in 1884.
Relation with the British
The Southern Cameroons was thus under British rule from 1858 to 1887, and then from 1915 to 1961, a total period of nearly 80 years. That long British connection left an indelible mark on the territory, bequeathing to it an Anglo-Saxon heritage. The territory’s official language is English. Its educational, legal, administrative, political, governance and institutional culture and value systems are all English-derived.
Up to 1960, the Southern Cameroons though under international tutelage was administered by Britain as part of her contiguous colonial territory of Nigeria. But its distinct identity and personality, separate from Nigeria, remained unassailable. UN Resolution 224 (III) of 18 November 1948 protected the Trust Territory from annexation by any colonial-minded neighbour. While acknowledging that the Trusteeship Agreement makes allowance for ‘administrative union’, the Resolution provides that “Such a union must remain strictly administrative in its nature and scope, and its operation must not have the effect of creating any conditions which will obstruct the separate development of the Trust Territory, in the fields of political, economic, social and educational advancement, as a distinct entity.”
In 1954 the Southern Cameroons became a self-governing region within Nigeria and gradually asserted its distinct identity and its aspiration to statehood through increased political and institutional autonomy.
In 1958 the British Government stated at the UN that the Southern Cameroons was expected to achieve in 1960 the objectives set forth in Article 76 b of the UN Charter. Since the Southern Cameroons had already attained self-government status four years earlier in 1954, the objective to be attained in 1960 could only have been full independence. General Assembly Resolution 1282 (XIII) of 5 December 1958 took note of the British statement. The people of the Southern Cameroons therefore legitimately expected to be granted full independence in 1960 given that their country had been self-governing since 1954.
Basic self-government institutions were in place: a Government headed by the Premier as Leader of Government business; a bicameral parliament consisting of a House of Assembly and a House of Chiefs; an Official Opposition in parliament; a Judiciary headed by a Chief Justice; a Civil Service; and police force. The system in place was a democratic and accountable dispensation. In 1959 when the term of office of the incumbent Premier came to an end, peaceful free fair and transparent elections were organised. The opposition won and there was an orderly transfer of power to the in-coming Premier. Consistent with the parliamentary system of government the outgoing Premier became Leader of the Opposition in parliament.
On 1s t October 1960 the Southern Cameroons was separated from Nigeria. The Southern Cameroons Constitution Order in Council came into force. By 1960 the Southern Cameroons had attained a full measure of self-government. Indeed, from 1 October 1960 up to 30 September 1961 it was a full self-governing territory fully responsible for all its internal affairs, except for defense over which matter, along with foreign affairs, Britain continued to exercise jurisdiction.
History of French Cameroon
On 1s t January 1960, the attached territory of French Cameroon, also a class B trust territory, achieved independence from France, though with a chronic ongoing anarchy and terrorism there notwithstanding. The French had decided that 1960 was to be the year of independence for its African colonies.
French Cameroun achieved independence under the name and style of La Republique du Cameroun (Present day name of the country) with Mr. Ahmadou Ahidjo as its President. It was admitted to membership of the United Nations on 20 September 1960. The name ‘Republique du Cameroun’ is variously translated into English as ‘Republic of Cameroon’ or sometimes simply as ‘Cameroon’.
Plebiscite Recommended by United Nations
On 13 March 1959 the General Assembly adopted Resolution 1350 (XIII) recommending a plebiscite in the Southern Cameroons instead of the granting of independence right away. This was followed by another General Assembly resolution, 1352 (XIV) of 16 October 1959, ordering a plebiscite to be held in the Southern Cameroons “not later than March 1961”. The people of the Southern Cameroons were to pronounce themselves on ‘achieving independence’ by the two dead-end alternatives of ‘joining’ Nigeria or Republic of Cameroon.
Still that same year, some perceptive minds in the Trusteeship Council expressed concerns that after attaining independence on 1 January 1960 Republic of Cameroon could try to annex the Southern Cameroons. The Premier of French Cameroun, Mr. Ahidjo, denied any such intention or the possibility of any such action on the part of independent Republic of Cameroon. At the 849th meeting of the Fourth Committee of the UN, Mr. Ahidjo took the floor and gave the UN the solemn assurance that Republic of Cameroon is not annexationist. He declared: “We are not annexationists. ... If our brothers of the British zone wish to unite with independent Cameroon, we are ready to discuss the matter with them, but we will do so on a footing of equality.” Of course this is the reverse on the field.
The United Nations, on April 21, 1961, voted for the independence of the British Southern Cameroons. According to the United Nations Resolution 1608(XV), the Southern Cameroons had a right to sovereignty. The UN General Assembly session voted an overwhelming 64 votes against 23 and 10 abstentions for independence of the Southern Cameroons to take effect on October, 1961. The United States voted for an independent Southern Cameroons. However, France hoodwinked the British and other state to push for the UN coordinated plebiscite.
Plebiscite Process Set in Motion
On 31 March 1960 the Trusteeship Council adopted Resolution 2013 (XXVI) requesting the UK Government “to take appropriate steps, in consultation with the authorities concerned, to ensure that the people of the Territory are fully informed, before the plebiscite, of the constitutional arrangements that would have to be made, at the appropriate time, for the implementation of the decisions taken at the plebiscite.”
The Secretary of State put forward the following interpretation as consistent with the plebiscite alternative of ‘joining’ Republic of Cameroon: “the Southern Cameroons and the Cameroon Republic would unite in a Federal United Cameroon Republic. The arrangements for the union would be worked out after the plebiscite by a conference consisting of representative delegations
of equal status from the Republic and the Southern Cameroons. The United Nations and the United Kingdom would also be associated with this conference.” Both the Southern Cameroons and Republic du Cameroon agreed to this interpretation
The signed and published Agreement between the Southern Cameroons and Republic of Cameroon provided that in the event of the plebiscite vote going in favour of “achieving independence by joining” Republic of Cameroon, the following would be the broad terms of the ‘joining’:
1. The Southern Cameroons and Republic of Cameroon would unite to create a Federal State to be called the ‘Federal Republic Cameroon’, outside the British Commonwealth and the French Community;
2. The component states of the Federation would be the Southern Cameroons and Republic of Cameroon, legally equal in status;
3. Each federated state would continue to conduct its affairs consistently with its colonially-inherited state-culture, with only a limited number of subject matters conceded to the union government;
4. Nationals of the federated states would enjoy Federal Cameroon nationality;
5. The Federation would have a bicameral Parliament consisting of a Federal Senate and a Federal National Assembly; and
6. Federal laws will only be enacted in such a way that no measures contrary to the interests of one state will be imposed upon it by the majority.
The Agreement also stipulated as follows:
1. Constitutional arrangements would be worked out after the plebiscite by a post-plebiscite
conference comprising representative delegations of equal status from the Southern Cameroons and Republic of Cameroon, in association with the United Kingdom Government and the United Nations;
2. The post-plebiscite conference would have as its goal the fixing of time limits and conditions for the transfer of sovereignty powers to an organisation representing the future federation;
3. Those entrusted with the affairs of the united Cameroon would put the would-be federal constitution to the people of the Southern Cameroons and Republic of Cameroon to pronounce themselves on it; and
The phrase “to achieve independence by joining Republic of Cameroon” was therefore clearly understood by all concerned (the UN, the UK Government, the Southern Cameroons Government, and the Republic of Cameroon Government) to mean that the Southern Cameroons would attain independence and then form, on the footing of legal equality, a federal union with Republic of Cameroon under an agreed federal constitution as defined in Resolution 1514(XV).
On 11 February 1961 the UN-supervised limited plebiscite took place in the Southern Cameroons. The vote was a plebiscite on political status to enable the people of the Southern Cameroons progress from full measure of self-government to national independence. The vote went in favour of achieving independence ‘by joining’ Republic of Cameroon rather than Nigeria.
Two months after the plebiscite vote, on 21 April 1961, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 1608 (XV) to give effect to the intention expressed by the people of the Southern Cameroons at the plebiscite. Republic of Cameroon, through its Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Charles Okala, made a protest against the taking of a vote on the independence of the Southern Cameroons and then voted against Resolution 1608. It speaks volumes that the overwhelming UN vote on the independence of the Southern Cameroons did not go down well with Republic of Cameroon.
In Resolution 1608 (XV) the General Assembly:
1. Endorsed the results of the plebiscite that “the people of the Southern Cameroons decided
to achieve independence by joining the independent Republic of Cameroon”;
2. Considered that “the decision made by them through a democratic process under the
supervision of the United Nations should be immediately implemented”;
3. Decided that “the Trusteeship Agreement of 13 December 1946 concerning the Cameroons under United Kingdom administration ... be terminated, in accordance with Article 76 b of the Charter of the United Nations ... with respect to the Southern Cameroons, on 1 October 1961, upon its joining the Republic of Cameroon”; and
4. Invited “the Administering Authority, the Government of the Southern Cameroons and the Republic of Cameroon to initiate urgent discussions with a view to finalizing before 1
October 1961 the arrangements by which the agreed and declared policies of the parties
concerned will be implemented.”
These said ‘agreed and declared policies’ were not and have never been finalized.
The Present Crisis and the Federal Constitution
Article 1 of the Federal Constitution of 1961 reads
“1.1. With effect from the 1st October 1961, the Federal Republic of Cameroon shall be constituted from the territory of the Republic of Cameroon, hereafter to be styled East Cameroon, and the territory of the Southern Cameroons, formerly under British trusteeship, hereafter to be styled West Cameroon.”
Since 1961 when southern Cameroons decided to join La Republic of Cameroon to form a federation of two equal states, it has been nothing less than a nightmare for Southern Cameroonians. From systematic discrimination, institutional marginalisation, economic exploitations, the identity of the southern Cameroonian in the country has been on a steady and intentional destruction by the majority French Cameroon. The Southern Cameroonian have sought to find out in the most peaceful and civil of ways who he is in Cameroon and the response has always been heavy. Joseph B Ebune (2016) posits in his article on the dilemma of the federal system in West Cameroon “If there was one area where federalism was most negatively exercised in West Cameroon, it was in the economic domain. At independence, the economy of East Cameroon was based on entrepreneurship and industrialisation, and between 1967 and 1971, about 20 billion francs were invested in about 700 industrial firms which included food, chemical, textile, aluminium industries, water and electrical power production (Ekali, 2004). In West Cameroon, only 27 industrial firms mainly plants for agricultural products were operational showing that investment in the industrial sector was low (Ebune, 2016).
Immediately after the reunification process was closed on the 1s t of October 1961, the then president of Cameroon Immediately launched his process to annex and recolonise Southern Cameroons.
1. He abolished all political parties in Cameroon by 1965 bringing the country to a one party system. At this time, there was no longer any legitimate organisation to carry on the aspirations of the Southern Cameroons
2. The worst and darkest day in the union, was when in March 1972, president Ahidjo declared that there would be a referendum in Cameroon in May of the same year to change the country from a federation into a unitary state.
a. This was against the Federal constitution which stated in article 47 that “The amendment may be passed by a simple majority of the membership of the Federal Assembly: Provided that such majority include a majority of the membership elected from each Federated State.”
b. After banning most political parties, no organisation was allowed to carry and defend the aspirations of the people
c. The vote was against the spirit of the Constitution and the UN led plebiscite in the fact that, it was opened to all Cameroonians. This was intentional and deliberate, given the population disparity in the country at the time. It must be mentioned that, only southern Cameroonians voted for the plebiscite.
d. More so, the voting was marred by fact that, there were not enough ballot papers to say NO. In fact, in Southern Cameroons that referendum is still considered today as a vote between “Yes and Yes”.
3. Fast tracked to 1984, two years after President Paul Biya (Prime Minister from 1975-1982) took office from Ahmadou Ahidjo. He unilaterally changed the name of the country from United Republic of Cameroon (and also removed one star from the flag which represented Southern Cameroons) and imposed The Republic of Cameroon as the official name of the country.
At that moment, the Southern Cameroons Emancipation struggle was officially born by this decision. First, The Republic of Cameroon, was the name of the French part of Cameroon before the Union. Thus, going back to that name meant two things to Southern Cameroonians.
a. The French part of Cameroon has seceded from the union; and/or
b. They have just annexed or recolonised Southern Cameroons.
- The Southern Cameroons Identity became more glaring. That was when a sitting magistrate who was a southern Cameroonian (Gorji Dinka) took the state of Cameroon to task at the AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES’ RIGHTS. He then created the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC).
- In 1990, there was a wave of political awareness across sub Saharan Africa which led to the creation of the first opposition political party (SDF) in Cameroon. This Party was
created in Bamenda with the principal objective of politics for the identity of Southern Cameroons.
- The first multiparty presidential elections took place in 1992 and it was widely claimed to have been won by the opposition SDF party. But that victory was never to be given and again, it added another block to the frustrations of Southern Cameroonians.
- In 1993 and 1994 a historical All Anglophone Conference was held in Buea and Bamenda Respectively. The resolutions of the conference have never been implemented and one of it was a return to a federal system of governance.
- The French Led central Government decided to dilute the calls for a return to federation by calling for an inconsequential tripartite meeting. The meeting was boycotted by the main opposition party in Cameroon (SDF) and none of the proposals of Southern Cameroonians were considered. The Francophone majority decided to distract Anglophones and opted for a unitary decentralised state. It is worth mentioning that, as we speak, 22 years after the 1996 constitution, nothing has been implemented.
Tensions started to gain momentum in May 2015, when Common Law lawyers (after a meeting in Bamenda) sent a memorandum to the head of state asking him to review the Southern Cameroons identity in the union. This was a direct consequence of the systematic and continuous dilution of the common law practice in Southern Cameroons by civil law trained magistrates who couldn’t speak or understand the English language. It is worth mentioning that, English language is the natural language of expression in the Anglophone regions. Thus dispensing justice in a language the people do not understand was tantamount to injustice.
The letter of the lawyers saw no response, neither in action or administrative formalities. One year later, the lawyers met in Buea and made a second declaration reaffirming that initial declaration made one year ago. Still, there was total silence, nonchalance and disregard.
In October 2016, the Common Law Lawyers decided to call for an indefinite peaceful strike. They were met with heavy repression from the central government. Lawyers were beaten and professional regalia seized. The people were still on the watch and were totally disappointed with the treatment given lawyers.
By November 21s t 2016, after a series of warnings, the teachers of the English Educational subsystem decided to down their tools for an indefinite strike. At this point, it had moved from Common Law Lawyers to teachers and again due to the high handedness of the regime, no solution was given to the request of the teachers. It soon moved into a community problem for all
Southern Cameroonians. There were many questions than answers. The police brutality and political denial of the problem further estranged the people.
The crisis reached its peak and collective acceptance from all Southern Cameroonians in December 2016 when an Anglophone Civil Society Consortium was formed to speak on behalf of the Southern Cameroons which I was the president. On the 8t h of December 2016, some 4 protesters were killed in Bamenda raising more questions from the people. Government then started dialogue with Consortium leaders in December 2016. But after failing to convince them of any concrete and factual decision taken, the government turned around and arrested these leaders from Buea and Bamenda and were taken to Yaoundé and tried in a military court. It must be mentioned here that, these people were arrested from an Anglophone region and deported to a Francophone region where the language of expression is French, thereby validating the very grievances raised by Anglophones.
These leaders were arrested alongside many other peaceful activist majority of whom have been sentenced to 15 years in jail. Thousands of such activists are still in prison in Yaounde and across the countries, some missing or in mass graves. Some have had their fate decided using the inhumane anti-terrorism law giving them heavy jail terms. Within this period, there were still continuous arrests and killings.
Centre for Human Rights and Democracy has documented more than 1200 detainees in several prisons across the country all linked to peaceful protests or activism.
Two Crucial Moments
1. On October 1s t , 2017 the people of Southern Cameroons in their millions peacefully went out to symbolically declare independence from The Republic of Cameroon. It was a peaceful demonstration that saw the young, the old, women and children come out to create a new country called AMBAZONIA. This day goes down in history as very symbolic for the people and also very bloody. The military responded by shooting unarmed civilians at close range and according to amnesty, over 44 people were shot dead that day, however Centre for Human Rights and Democracy documented almost 1000 killed. This was done under the control and coordination of an interim government.
2. On January 5t h , 2018 some leaders who formed an interim government were arrested in Nigeria and deported to Cameroon. They have since been held incommunicado. Nobody has seen them, no sign of life and no access to lawyers, or family members. The Red Cross has not been able to have contact with them. This further intensified a military campaign by civilians, supported by the diaspora to fight for their rights, protect the
innocent people that were been killed, protect families that were burnt in houses by the Cameroonian military.
Human Rights Abuses
Over the last 5 months, the armed conflict between both belligerents have given rise to several human rights abuses. While the government of Cameroon bears a huge responsibility including several crimes considered against humanity, armed groups have also committed several crimes. As confirmed by the US Ambassador to Cameroon, Peter Henry Barlerin, the government has burned down entire about 87 villages, burned down houses with several old people burnt to death, shot civilians, targeted killings, torture and several cases of extrajudicial execution. Meanwhile, armed groups have kidnapped several administrators and traditional rulers, burned administrative buildings and schools, killed several people in revenge killings for allegedly cooperating with the government, collected ransom in exchange for freedom and killed government soldiers.
The Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa has documented thousands of cases including testimonies from victims. We are willing to share these confidential reports with Congress, Foreign Affairs Committee and the subcommittee.
Risk of Imminent Genocide
Some people in the Anglophone regions had long declared that there is a genocide happening in Cameroon and yes, there are signs of a genocide. The fact that people are indiscriminately killed just because they are English speakers points clearly that there is a risk that genocide is imminent. If we go by Amnesty International’s report and the declarations of US Ambassador to Cameroon, Peter Henry Barlerin, it is safe to say that the conflict in Southern Cameroons have more ingredients of a genocide.
Looking at the 10 stages of a genocide as defined by Gregory H. STANTON, we can easily notice that these stages are already evident with the crisis:
1. CLASSIFICATIONS: People are divided in the crisis as “us” against “them”.
2. SYMBOLISATION: People are forced to identify themselves. We give names as Anglophones, Biafra, Bamenda, separatists, terrorist, extremist, etc;
3. DISCRIMINATION: A dominant group uses law, custom, and political power to deny the rights of other groups. That is what the majority led French central Government is doing on the minority Anglophones using the anti-terrorism law.
4. DEHUMANISATION: One group denies the humanity of the other. This has been seen on several occasions. The governor of the Southwest region referred to Anglophone protesters as Dogs. Even journalists on a local TV station have in a generalised manner called Anglophones as rats;
5. ORGANISATION: Genocide is always organised, usually by the state, often using militias to provide deniability of state responsibility. In Cameroon, the BIR is a specialised ethnic unit for this task. Trained and equipped by the Israelites and US governments respectively. We have seen anti-terrorism equipment given by the US used on armless civilians in the Anglophone regions.
6. POLARISATION: The government broadcast propaganda to turn the population against Anglophones. This is very particular of state television CRTV and Vision 4 television where Francophones are invited to debate about the Anglophone problem. The obvious is that they rain insults and derogatory statements towards Anglophones with impunity.
7. PREPARATION: They often use euphemisms to cloak their intentions, such as referring to their goals as “counter-terrorism.” They have built armies, bought weapons and trained their troops and militias to fight “Terrorist”. But who are these terrorist?
8. PERSECUTION: Beginning of murders, theft of property, trials and massacres like we have seen in Menka Pinyin and recently in Mbengwi;
9. EXTERMINATION: When it is sponsored by the state, the armed forces often work with militias to do the killing. Sometimes the genocide results in revenge killings by groups against each other, creating the downward whirlpool-like cycle of bilateral genocide (as in Burundi). Already dead bodies are dismembered; rape is used as a tool of war to genetically alter and eradicate the other group. Destruction of cultural and religious property is employed to annihilate the group’s existence from history. This is the case of the over 87 villages burnt down with ancestral and sacred places destroyed. We have seen images of the military killing and displaying human remains as a sign of victory as to say, we have killed the animals.
10. DENIAL: Cameroon, several credible international organisations and the international community are still in denial of what is happening. It is worth recalling that the
government of Cameroon has refused to provide access to the UNHCR for investigations and Red Cross. It is among the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres. Alleged mass graves have been discovered in many localities in the Anglophone Regions (Tinto, Kwakwa, Mbonge, Lebialem, Munyenge, Batibo, Bali etc). The recent killings of 34 in Santa (Menka-Pinyin) is a crystal example where every person on the scene was killed and the only survivor who was later taken to the hospital due to bullet wounds was pulled out of hospital by the military with his two brothers and executed. Leaving no trace of what happened. If we still think this is not a planned and coordinated genocide, then what else can it be?
Contextualisation and Why United States Must Intervene
The international community and the United States in particular must intervene to stop this conflict before it gets to the broader sphere. The conflict in these regions have the potentials to explode into a sub-regional crisis that will generate more poverty and political problems for the future. The following situational awareness must be considered so as to initiate a timely and efficient intervention:
1. The Anglophone regions (Southern Cameroons) is situated at the Gulf of Guinea which is rich in crude oil;
2. The region is so volatile with armed conflicts in many countries such as Central Africa Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, etc;
3. The Anglophone regions (Southern Cameroons) is between West (ECOWAS) and Central (CEMAC) Africa. Thus, a strategical link for commerce, trade and business;
Why must the United States be worried about the Southern Cameroons crisis?
America is looked upon as the ideal place in the world where human rights are respected, where freedoms are guaranteed and human dignity assured. Besides, America voted in favour for UN Resolution 1608 of an independent Southern Cameroons. Moreover, many people had erroneously thought that, with the heavy military artillery of the Central Government in Yaoundé, the Anglophone people will be beaten to submission within days. However, it is seemingly clear that, the fight to self-determination is real and might last a long time if solutions are not achieved early enough.
Several factors indicate that this conflict might last a long period of time.
1. The crisis has moved from guerrilla tactics to direct confrontations;
2. There is a multitude of armed groups all fighting for the Independence of the Southern Cameroons;
3. The objective for Independence is very clear to most of the people and the population supports it;
4. The Anglophone diaspora are in full support of an armed struggle and finance it.
5. Most parts of Southern Cameroons are totally inaccessible by road, telephone and even Radio and TV signals. It is thus easy for pockets of resistances to exist in such places for a longer period;
6. The Government’s refusal to initiate dialogue with legitimate Anglophone leaders;
Considerations to Be Made
The longer the crisis persist, there is a likelihood of other bi-products of conflict. Given that, Cameroon has been an example for peace in Africa for decades and the above situational analysis, America must intervene so as to:
1. Reduce the influx of political refugees and asylum seekers as a result of the conflict (21000 Refugees already registered with UNHCR and Nigerian authorities confirming about 50,000 refugees in Nigeria and over 160,000 internally displaced persons);
2. Schools in this territory have been closed, as the lack of education persists, this creates a risk for youths to join armed groups;
3. With the proliferation of arms and armed groups, insecurity in the region is very high and could easily fuel hostage taking, theft and other crimes;
4. Economic stagnation, poverty, and famine in the regions;
5. Many armed groups signal the risk to disarm these groups in the long run;
6. The likelihood of epidemics as a result of lack of social amenities. Today, women are in the rainforest, beaten by snakes and there are no vaccines. They are having children in bushes, which is unhealthy and dangerous should there be any outbreak of an epidemic;
7. The future of youths not pursuing education has been compromised and it will have a huge social impact.
Recommendations to Congress
The Anglophone Crisis
● Pressure the Cameroon government to allow independent investigations into alleged crimes against humanity and gross abuses of human rights by credible international bodies, regional partners and national civil society organisations.
● Reexamine the current defense and development aid especially in cases of government security using weapons meant for the fight against Boko Haram in the Anglophone regions and on civilians.
● Urge Congress to hold frequent hearings on Cameroon including a full committee hearing, Centre for Human Rights and Democracy is willing to testify before congress with regards to the crisis.
● Insist to the Cameroon government to engage in inclusive dialogue on Federalism and Independence of Southern Cameroons with legitimate leaders of the people without preconditions.
● Help identify possible national mediators and support civil society actors including the Catholic Church.
● Urge for all parties to negotiate for a ceasefire as a confidence building measure towards negotiations for the end of this conflict.
● Engage with the The United States Ambassador to the United Nations to bring this crisis for debate at the UN Security Council.
● Provide humanitarian support to refugees and internally displaced persons.
● Support an international process for a referendum to listen to the voice of the people on
the desire regarding the form of the State.
● Call for the release of all prisoners linked to sentences from the anti-terrorism law.
● Call on the government to release 47 Cameroonians deported from Nigeria.
● Engage with US allies such as Israel to review military support and cooperation with
Cameroon’s elite army BIR in cases of human rights violations by troops trained and supported by them.
● Collaborate with US allies, France, Britain, Israel, European Union to pressure the Cameroon government to seek dialogue and negotiations in order to end conflict.
● United States to place travel restrictions and sanctions on government members fueling the crisis.
● Continue to condemn all forms of violence on both sides.
● Continue to urge president Paul Biya to think about his legacy and also put forward a clear succession path to avoid a power vacuum or crisis in case of incapacitation or death.
● Increase international support, attention and monitoring as elections in Cameroon are marred by fraud and rigging. The need for more international credible observers on the
ground to monitor polling stations and weigh on legitimacy of results.
● Pressure the government of Cameroon to engage in negotiations to end the conflict prior
to elections, otherwise there is a high risk for no voting in Anglophone regions.
● Increase support for civil society organisations due to the lack of a strong opposition and