By LUSY LIMA
A long and arduous search for persons alleged to be backing the Anglophone crisis is underway as the situation in the restive North West and South West regions of Cameroon worsens.
Faced with a deteriorating socio-political climate in the two English-speaking regions, and other security concerns in the Far North, Adamaoua and East regions, Government, in a desperate attempt to calm the troubled waters, has multiplied efforts towards apprehending those considered as the masterminds behind the crisis.
Common Law Lawyers in Cameroon went on strike in October 2016 to protest government’s attempts to annihilate the Common Law practice in a constitutionally bilingual and bi-jural Cameroon. The strike lasted for over a year.
Anglophone teachers in the country joined the strike on November 21, 2016 to uphold Anglo-Saxon values under threat in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions. Same day, Mancho Bibixy staged a coffin revolution at Liberty Square in Bamenda to protest against the marginalisation and economic deprivation of Anglophones.
Matters came to a head on Thursday, December 8 when the population of Bamenda took to the streets to denounce the politicisation of a strike action they consider genuine and borne of longstanding grievances.
Days of ghost town have since been observed throughout the South West and North West Regions of the country.
On January 17, 2017, Barrister Nkongo Felix AgborBalla and Dr.Fontem Neba, leaders of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC) were arrested moments after the consortium had been banned along with the SCNC.
President of the self-styled state of Ambazonia, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, was arrested in Nigeria on January 8, 2018 along with nine other members of his cabinet including Tassang Wilfred, Nfor Ngala Nfor and Barrister Eyambe Ebai.
As we went to press, a trusted source in the police informed us that plans were far advanced for the arrest of an alleged activist – 35-year-old Mukete Iya Diwo.
The lady, our source said, has been earmarked for arrest as a result of the crisis with the state counsel issuing an arrest warrant in her name.
There is apparently no hiding place for the activists of the Southern Cameroons National Council, SCNC, and sympathisers of the Ambazonia self-proclaimed state – not even suspects are spared.
The regime in power is bent on arresting them and to a greater extent, hand them heavy jail sentences for acts of treason, terrorism, secession, propagation of false news, rebellion against the state and sponsoring of the Anglophone crisis.
Our security source said Mukete Iya Diwo had jumped bail. She had been arrested in Buea on January 15, 2018 for being in possession of tracts that fuelled the teacher strike. She was bailed days after by Barrister Nganje Shedill. The lawyer claims that she was molested and sexually exploited while in detention.
The staff of CIMA International Cameroon sarl is said to be the daughter of a teacher who died in June 2018. She was again arrested along the Buea-Kumba road on June 4, 2018. Sources said her phone was full of propaganda messages relating to the struggle, reason why she was held in custody under inhumane condition.
The SUN learnt that she was granted bail on December 20, 2018 but her counsel alleges that she was raped twice by an officer, a claim we have not independently verified.
Officers are said to have stormed their Buea residence on several occasions including on January 7, 2018 during which they raided the family home. Mukete Iya Diwo was nowhere to be found during the security visit, but her parents were shocked and frightened by the presence of the gun-toting uniform men. Her father, Mukete Charles, is said to have suffered a high blood pressure attack and died in hospital later that day.
Mukete Iya Diwo was absent at her father’s funeral. Her whereabouts remains in doubts, but a warrant for her arrest remains very much valid to be executed.
Ako Formen Randolf Maxwell is another activist with a similar plight. His ordeal with the regime started in 2017 after thousands of protesters went across the streets in Anglophone Cameroon, demanding for independence of Southern Cameroons better known as the Federal Republic of Ambazonia. This protest demonstration landed Ako in numerous detention cells as many protesters were arrested including Denning Epie Njumbe. Reports hold that Ako Formen Randolf Maxwell and Denning Epie Njumbe were among those subjected to inhumane treatment at the Mobile Intervention Unit (GMI5) of the police in Buea. It has since been a tale of intimidation and arrests.
Government’s crackdown on Anglophone activists has since intensified with arbitrary arrests, detention, torture and extra-judicial killings becoming the new normal.
The fate of many remains precarious as security forces battle separatists. President Paul Biya has since taken a tough position on the crisis in the two-English speaking regions. Guns have since taken the place of dialogue and peace.