By Simon Kalla
As the crisis that has been rocking the North West and South west region rages on, government has stepped up its crackdown on all those suspected to be activists of the Anglophone cause or sympathizers to the cause.
In this light, security operatives have been indiscriminately arresting Anglophone activists and suspected activists. This has caused many of them to flee into hiding and the whereabouts of many is not known.
It would be recalled that in January 2017 the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Emmanuel Rene Sadi, had banned the Southern Cameroons National Council, SCNC, and the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium, CACSC. Some of the leaders of the Consortium such as Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho and Dr. Fontem Niba were immediately arrested while others like Barrister Bobga Harmony and Tassang Wilfred fled into hiding.
Sources say the arrested activists are being tortured and detained under horrendous and inhuman conditions. Some have reportedly died in detention.
It is also 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, paralyzing the courts. They were demanding for a return to the federal system of government, redeployment of Civil Law Magistrates back to Civil Law Courts 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 sub-system of education.
Things got worse when concerned citizens in the North West and South West region, who had been fed up with the unfavorable political and especially economic stagnation of Cameroon at large, but more importantly in these regions, joined the strike.
After what has now been termed the Coffin Revolution in Bamenda, when a certain Mancho Bibixy appeared in the street with a coffin denouncing the bad state of roads in Bamenda, the population came out en mass, marched along the streets. When the police and gendarmes tried to disperse the crowd, there was an exchange with the security operatives, leading to several people shot dead and many others injured. Many more were arrested.
Paramount amongst their grievances was the retrograding economic drift in the North West and South West regions owing to dilapidating road network, unequipped medical facilities, the imposition of a policy of using the French language almost exclusively in the military and administrative bureaus in the Anglophone regions, not leaving out schools and courts. These are on a people who have had a purely Anglo-Saxon upbringing, thereby limiting their chances of obtaining fair justice, entry into public schools and consequently streamlining the number of Anglophones into administrative positions and other benefits of the state, hence making the already difficult life style of these people simply unbearable.
Unfortunately, the results of this peaceful strike action were the random arrests, detention of the Coffin Revolution leader Mancho Bibixy. Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho and Dr Fontem Neba, leaders of the Anglophone Consortium and even a Supreme Court judge Ayah Paul were also later arrested. They have been charged with terrorism and secession.
But as the crackdown on the activist escalates, several cases have been reported. One of the cases is that have Taniform Nwana Junior, who was arrested on 22 February 2017 in Bamenda during a police raid. He was arrested with others including Ngwa Terence, Fuh Eric, Nji Pascal, Che Frederick. They were accused of promoting or sponsoring the activities of Mancho Bibixy. They also face charges of terrorism and secession.
A car spare parts businessman in Nkwen Bamenda and father of three children, Taniform Nwana Junior was detained for five months and on 27 July 2017 a convoy of military trucks is reported to have arrived at their detention centre to take them away to an unknown destination. It was while being transported to this new location that Taniform Nwana Junior is said to have escaped.
Since then the whereabouts Taniform Nwana Junior is not known. But sources within his family say they have been harassed severally by security operatives to declare his whereabouts.
It would be noted that Taniform Nwana Junior and other Anglophone activists both genuine and suspected have been accused of terrorism, secession, aggression against the state among other crimes. If arrested, tried and found guilty, Taniform Nwana Junior will face the death sentence according to the anti-terrorism law which was promulgated a few years back.