SCNC activists flee as gov’t steps up clampdown home and abroad

NEWS 06 Mar 2017
SCNC activists flee as gov’t steps up clampdown home and abroad

By Simon NdiveKalla

As the Anglophone crisis, which has now spiraled into an armed struggle, worsens in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon, the government has intensified its efforts to crack down on activists of the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) and other activists both within and without the country.

The government has always accused SCNC members and other Anglophone secessionists in the diaspora of propelling the Anglophone crisis; which the government has labelled as “terrorism”. The Minister of Communication, IssaTchiromaBakari, earlier emphasised that, the government will not dialogue or negotiate with terrorists. Sources have revealed that, the government is using its diplomatic networks to ensure that SCNC members and other Anglophone activists abroad are tracked down and extradited for prosecution

Most of the activists who have been arrested are being detained under horrendous and inhuman conditions. Some have died in detention.

It would be noted that many Anglophone activists including NforNgalaNfor Chairman of the SCNC, Sessekou Ayuk Julius Tabe, the Nigeria-based president of the Southern Cameroons Governing Council, Mark Bara Bareta, Eric Tataw, Ayaba Cho Lucas, Gilbert Nkenganyi Azenganyi and Tapang Ivo Tanku among several others have been declared wanted by the Cameroon government.

After releasing a list of Anglophone activists in the Diaspora, who were targeted for arrest some time ago, sources say a fresh list of SCNC members and other activists abroad has been re-established for arrest; more than a hundred names have reportedly been given to intelligence services.

Anglophone activists including Gilbert Nkenganyi Azenganyi protesting in New York against the Biya regime

Anglophone activists including Gilbert Nkenganyi Azenganyi protesting in New York against the Biya regime

We learnt from informants that after several meetings held in Yaounde in a bid to seek ways to neutralise the growing Anglophone activism both within and without the country, a bigwig of the regime was sent on a mission abroad to lobby his way in causing the UN and other diplomatic services to frustrate the Anglophone struggle by neutralising those in the Diaspora via their arrest and extradition.

As the Cameroon government continues on its scheme to clamp down on the Anglophone activists, many of them have been fleeing the country while those in the diaspora now fear for their lives.

One of them is Gilbert Nkenganyi Azenganyi, a member of the SCNC and leader of the youth wing, who has escaped out of the country since May 29, 2013.

On March 3, 2017 he took part in a mass protest of Anglophone Cameroonians. The mass demonstration which took place in New York, had the protesters calling on the United States government to put pressure on the Yaounde regime and bring an end to what they termed genocide going on in the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon.

Gilbert Nkenganyi Azenganyi brandishing pro-secession placard during mass demonstration in New York

Gilbert Nkenganyi Azenganyi brandishing pro-secession placard during mass demonstration in New York

It was Azenganyi’s participation in the protest that caused him to be blacklisted by the regime as being among those who want to destabilise Cameroon. The Cameroon government thus published a list of some of those, including Gilbert NkenganyiAzenganyi, who participated in the demonstration, declaring them wanted.

If Gilbert Nkenganyi Azenganyi is arrested by the Cameroonian security forces, he will be tried under the anti-terrorism law, whose maximum punishment is the death penalty.

Origin of crisis

It is worth recalling that the Anglophone crisis, something that pundits say had been brewing for several years, boiled over in November 2016, when Common Law Lawyers in the North West and South West regions went on strike. They were demanding for the return of the federal system of government, redeployment of Civil Law Magistrates back to Civil Law Courts in French Cameroon, among other grievances. Not long after, teachers in the North West and South West regions also went on strike, demanding for the redress of several issues concerning the English system of education.

Things, however, got worst when Anglophones in both regions, who had been fed up with the unfavourable political and economic situation of the country, the use of French

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