By Elah Geofrey Mbongale
The Anglophone crisis that started with the Common Law Lawyers and Anglophone teachers taking to the streets on a peaceful demonstration decrying the marginalisation of the Anglophones better still Southern Cameroons in 2016 gradually morphed into an armed conflict and went bloody claiming lives, others displaced while majority escaped to Nigeria for safety. The peaceful demonstration championed by lawyers in the likes of Barristers Agbor Felix fondly called Agbor Balla and Eyambe Elias Ebai of the Eyambe Ebai Law Chambers and President of Meme Lawyers Association, MELA. Amongst those who took active part in some of demonstrations is Okole Dyana Manyaka, a lawyer in training attached to the Eyambe Ebai Law Chambers in Kumba, Meme Division, South West Region of Cameroon. Reports indicate that during one of the demonstrations, some of the lawyers were arrested, tortured, and detained. Barrister Agbor Balla for instance was arrested and detained while Barrister Eyambe escaped to Nigeria though was later arrested and extradited to Cameroon and imprisoned. Meanwhile, Lawyer Okole Dyana Manyaka escaped to Korea for studies,reports say.
After staying incommunicado with her family for over three months, The SUN has it on good record that Lawyer Okole Dyana Manyaka decided to visit the country in May 2017.Immediately Okole Dyana Manyaka got to Cameroon, information filtered that she was kidnapped by Ambazonian fighters, on May 14, 2017.
Reports say she was molested, tortured and placed under inhumane treatment for not paying the ransom requested. It is said that, while under the fighters’ custody, one of them hinted that they should rape Okole Dyana Manyaka, which caused Okole Dyana Manyaka to pass out. Not being able to sooth their sensual gratification, the furious Ambazonian Defence Forces went to Okole Dyana’s family home and razed it to the ground.
Frustrated with the situation and the fighters’ manhunt for her, Okole Dyana Manyaka hurriedly return to Korea for safety. All attempts for Okole Dyana Manyaka, just like any other lawyer and activist to return home remains cloudy, as they are targeted for arrest and subsequent persecution. Majority of them are arrested at the airport with reasons that they are the ones funding the Ambazonian war of independence.
As tension rages on for close to a year in the restive North West and South West regions, several calls have been made for all protagonists to embrace peace for a better and new Cameroon, but things seem to have fallen on deaf ears as the armed conflicts between the separatist fighters and the defense forces rages on with multiple deaths recorded on both sides and houses razed to the ground, and villages burnt down, while Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, keep increasing.
The government over the years is sparing no effort at tracking down those they consider agents of the destruction of Cameroon with secessionist tendencies.They still considering the fighters as terrorists with numerous trumped up charges leveled against them such as propagation of false information, rebellion, revolution, secession, insurrection and non-possession of national identity card. Even those abroad considered as activists and preaching against the marginalization of Southern Cameroons by the Yaoundé regime have equally been declared enemies of the State of Cameroon, and have been tagged for persecution.
At press time, the search for these alleged activists and many others had increased.Report of a survey released by a group of Human Rights Organizations in Cameroon indicates that the lives of activists of Anglophone extraction are now in danger.Recent statistics by civil society organizations reflect the extent of the damage with horrific numbers. The death toll is on a rise while there are claims that about 300 villages have been burnt down in the two regions, and some 730,000 people remain internally displaced with thousands of English-speaking Cameroonians having fled to neighbouring Nigeria where they live as refugees.