BY TALLA AGHAA CHRISTOPHER
As tensions in the North West and South West Regions rage unabated, government has embarked on a protracted mission to fish out sympathisers and activists backing what has become known as the Anglophone Crisis. The government has already considered them terrorists and numerous trumped up charges have been leveled against them such as propagation of false information, rebellion, revolution, secession insurrection and the non-possession of National Identity card.
For fear of the unknown and considering the heavy jail terms awaiting suspected activists, many have relocated to unknown destinations after having been declared wanted by the regime.
Confronted with flaring tempers, a total breakdown of law and order, and worsening socio-political conditions, government has now taken to trail those considered as masterminds of the unrest including their families.
This move represents one in a series of measures that have been employed by the administration to calm the troubled waters amid deteriorating security conditions and other concerns.
This hunt is in a bid to bring activists before the military tribunal for adjudication, as was the case with the likes of ManchoBibixy, Tsi Conrad, and Penn Terence, who, upon their arrest in January 2017, subsequently stood trial before the military tribunal to bear the brunt of a failed system. They were each slammed maximum jail sentence to serve at the Kondengui maximum security prison, while others in the likes of the family of Mama Langsi Doris Mankasoh whose Son Gandhi is a frontline activist , Franklin Vegah Law, and Menyele Charles Mosima live in fear.
Leaders of the virtual state of Ambazonia(otherwise known as Southern Cameroons),SisikuAyukTabe, Tassang Wilfred, Barrister Eyambe ,NforNgalaNfor and others, were arrested in Nigeria on January 5, 2018 and extradited to Cameroon where they were placed incommunicado for close to a year. They are presently faced with charges of terrorism, secession, propagation of false news, insurrection, non-possession of National IdentityCard and rebellion against the state in an on-going trial before the military tribunal in Yaounde.
The war in the two Anglophone Regions of Cameroon referred to by activists as Southern Cameroons or “Ambazonian” is in its third year with no end in sight. The number of shootings, abductions and arrests keep soaring.
Youths dying, fleeing as blood flows unabated
With the military finding it difficult to differentiate between innocent civilians and separatist fighters, many young people have been caught in the web. They have either been taken by stray bullets or mistaken for members of the gun-carrying-militia and killed in cold blood.
Life for many living in the restive regions is a miracle given that each new day comes with its own. Today, many homes in the two restive regions have been broken with women left to drown in their tears. The have been looking for their husbands and sons and other family member who are either missing or dead. The outskirts of towns like Buea, Kumba, Bamenda, Kumbo, and Mamfe have been the hardest hit by the crisis. Many have fled in order to provide a level field for the smoking guns to rattle. Extra judicial killings, burning of homes and villages, raping in these regions have been the order of the day as many have been declared as Internal Displaced Persons, IDP’s.
Recent statistics by civil society organizations reflect the extent of the damage with horrific numbers. The death toll is on a perpetual rise while there are claims that about 200 villages have been burnt down in the two regions, and some 17.000 people remain internally displaced. A majority of who are taking refuge in the bushes and forests. This is in addition to the more than 45.000 English speaking Cameroonians that have assumed the status of refugees in Nigeria.
Several activists both home and abroad have been earmarked for arrest with regional, national and international warrants issued against them. Photos declaring them ‘Wanted’ have been placed with security forces.
The tale of the family of Mama Langsi Doris Mankasoh whose Son Gandhi Fuh is frontline activist caught our attention as we seek to document the ordeals of youth caught in a war for no fault of theirs. For issues relating to the Anglophone crisis with the Cameroon Defence Forces and the Separatist Fighters constantly involved in hostilities, thefamily of Mama Langsi Doris Mankasoh is all in hiding after they were attacked by the military two weeks ago in Wum anoutskirts ofBamenda in the North West Region. Mama Doris as she is fondly called lost her job as a banker and was currently a teacher in Wum.
She was the publicity secretary of the teachers union and one of the strong voices in the current Anglophone crisis. According to information gathered in Bamenda, it was found that her house was burnt down and several family relations wounded on allegations that she was instigating what is currently known as “ghost town” in Anglophone Cameroon.
It should be recalled that “ghost town” calls are respected throughout Anglophone Cameroon every Mondays and the days the Ambazonian Leaders are to appear in Court. Other sources claim that the family residence of Mama Langsi Doris Mankasoh was attacked because his son Gandhi Fuh who is a Canada-based Anglophone activistwho was in Cameroon for a hidden agenda. All attempts to reach the family of Mama Doris Langsi to corroborate the fact that his son was in the country and to get further information regarding the arson ended up in futility.
In the meantime, there are conflicting stories regarding the incident while the whereabouts of the family remains unknown. It is apparent that Gandhi Fuh has been declared wanted by the authorities.
With government tightening the noose on separatists and their sympathisers, the future promises to be pregnant.