By Norbert Wasso
The war in the two Anglophone regions of Cameroon referred to by activists as Southern Cameroon or “Ambazonia” continues to rage unabatedly despite calls by national and international bodies for an inclusive dialogue to address the root causes of the problem.
Infact, catholic prelates in Cameroon have termed what is going on as a “senseless war”.
At the start of the last weekend about 10 civilians were reportedly gunned down by soldiers in Ekona, a suburb in Muyuka subdivision and one of the hotbeds of the war. In Mutengene, a raucous junction town in Tiko subdivision, four civilians were gunned down allegedly by soldiers on Sunday, October 14.
Tales of shootings, abductions, arrests by both sides, i.e government forces and separatist fighters in Ekona, Muyuka, Buea, Bolifamba, Kumba, infact in most towns in the North West and South West regions have become legion and are daily happenings.
Youths dying, fleeing
In all of this young people are paying a huge price. Since November 2016 when the crisis erupted, the academic calendar of most schools have been seriously perturbed, others especially in the rural areas have shutdown completely.
Before the Ambazonia fighters decided to face government’s heavy artillery, the government had in early 2017 embarked on a manhunt of many activists notably the outlawed Civil Society Consortium that grouped lawyers and many teachers’ syndicates. Some of them such as the president, Barrister Agbor Balla and his secretary general, a university don, Dr. Fontem Neba were arrested, kept in detention and arraigned before a military court in Yaounde before being released almost nine months later.
The same manhunt was unleashed against members of the also outlawed Southern Cameroons National Council, SCNC, a group that has been advocating for the independence of Southern Cameroonians. The targeting of SCNC members predates the current crisis. Due to arbitrary arrests, torture, incommunicado detentions and deaths, it is no longer safe for people to live in their houses. They have all fled their homes and are in hiding. A case in point is that of Ngomeioh Fotabong Anche. On many occasions, he has been illegally arrested, detained, subjected to torture and inhumane prison conditions.
Their house in Muyuka like those of many others even the innocent, have been burnt down to ashes. Ngomeioh narrowly escaped from being killed and has since gone missing.