BY CHRISTOPHER TALLA AGHA
A long and arduous search for activists backing the Anglophone crisis is underway amid the ongoing unrest in the North and South West Regions.
Faced with deteriorating socio- political conditions and other security concerns, Government, in a desperate attempt at calming the troubled waters, has multiplied efforts towards apprehending those it considers as masterminds behind the crisis.
This hunt is in a bid to bring various Anglophone activists such as the likes of Mancho Bibixy ,TsiConrad,and Penn Terence to book, who upon their arrest in January of 2017 subsequently stood trial before the military tribunal.Faced with government and the full force of the law, they were each slammed maximum jail sentences to be served at the Kondengui maximum security prison.
What started as a strike action in 2016 by common law lawyers and Anglophones teachers, has since escalated into an armed struggle, characterized by civil disobedience,violence, intimidation, kidnappings and a complete breakdown of law and order with the military allegedly burning down homes and villages of those considered as enemies of the state. This includes those voicing dissatisfaction with the regime in power, protest coordinators,as well as leaders of all secessionist movements demanding a separate state for the Southern Cameroons.
Since 2016, this clamour has led to widespread degradation of law and order and a genuine fear of genocide, as hundreds of lives succumb to the ongoing violence in the North West and South West regions.
Recent statistics by civil society organizations reflect the extent of the damage. The death toll is ever rising. There are claims that about 120 villages have been burnt down in the two English speaking regions, while thousands of people remain internally displaced.A majority of whom are taking refuge in bushes and forests. This is in addition to the more than 45.000 Anglophone Cameroonians that have assumed the status of refugees in Nigeria. Several activists both home and abroad have been earmarked for arrest as a result.
For issues relating to the Anglophone cause, a man whose name we got as Kenfack Jacob, former President of the Motor Bike Riders Association in Kumba and staunch member of Cameroon frontline opposition party,the Social Democratic Front, SDF, since 2007 has grabbed both government and public attention.
The Sun gathered that, before Kenfack Jacob left Cameroon to an unknown destination in December 2013 following reports that he has been earmarked to answer charges of treason in Yaoundé, hehad been victim of consistence torture, arbitrary arrest and detention without charges by the barbaric, corrupt and dictatorial regime of President Paul Biya.
According to reports, Kenfack Jacob had had a bitter episode with security forces when he, amongst other members of the Bike Riders Association,was arrested for having organized a strike action against a hike in prices of fuel and basic commodities in 2008.
Though released thanks to the intervention of some Lawyers and Human Right groups, Kenfack Jacob did not forego his participation in the SDF, union activism, through the Bike Riders Association which he headed, and many other Human Right groups.
At the eve of the 2011 presidential elections in Cameroon Kenfack Jacob was equally arrested amongst other militants due to their affiliation to the SDF.
Matters became worst for Kenfack few weeks to the 2013 legislative and municipal elections in Cameroon. In one of the campaign meetings, many opposition militants were arrested including Kenfack Jacob, linking them to the Southern Cameroons National Council, SCNC , a separatist movement clamouring for the restoration of Independence of Southern Cameroons.
Kenfack Jacob suffered from serious torture and inhumane molestation, which later land him in the hospital for medical attention. While in the hospital, Mr. Kenfack Jacob’s residence was search following instructions from hierarchy.
Plans to whisk Kenfack Jacob to Yaoundé to answer charges of treason was leaked to his family, by a senior police officer who was mandated to carry on the investigations,The Sun gathered.
Aware of the magnitude of the offence of treason Kenfack Jacob’s family allegedly “negotiated with the police officer and Kenfack Jacob successful fled the country to an unknown destination in December 2013.
Reports further indicated that Kenfack Jacob was at risk of detention and tried for felonies including secession, insurrection, treason and propagation of false information.
THE SUN Newspaper gathered that with the current Anglophone crisis rocking the North West and South West Regions, activists who have stood against the marginalization of Anglophones and have been very vocal against the government like Kenfack Jacob, are currently under police searchlight for being the ones fanning the flames of the crisis, especially those abroad.
He has since remained in hiding while steadfastly continuing his work against marginalization and Southern Cameroon’s independence. Security officials remain on the lookout for him and his family and friends maintain their ignorance over his whereabouts. Meantime, their family residence was razed to the ground, and a certain Mathias Abang Ako, the bike rider who is said to have helped to ferry Kenfack Jacob out to an unknown destination, was gruesomely killed by military in February 2018.
In a related development, Mbeke Epoupa, another known pro SCNC, Cameroonian and human rights activist, whereabouts has been a misery since October 2017.Mbeke Epoupa Pascal, according to family sources, has been arrested countless times by security forces, molested and placed under inhumane detention, because of his involvement with the SCNC.
While in the hospital after his arrest and torture by the police, he was diagnosed of stroke, hypertension and speech difficulties.Information pertaining to his trial at the military court while still in the hospital, made him to negotiate his way to an unknown destination. Mbeke Epoupa Pascal just like Eben MacDonald, have suffered similar fates with multiple arrests and eventually being declared wanted by the State.