By Elah Geoffrey Mbongale
More and more youths are increasingly being victimised by the Cameroon defence forces as tension heightens in the two restive English speaking regions of Cameroon, for allegedly supporting or sponsoring separatists’ agenda. Reports are becoming very prevalent of youths who are either molested, flogged, detained or killed, without any fair hearing.
The Anglophone crisis, which started as a strike action, November 2016, by lawyers and teachers in the North West and South West regions to decry government’s attempt to assimilate the educational system, has metamorphosed into serious conflict and clashes between the Cameroon defence forces and those seeking “the restoration of the statehood of former British Southern Cameroons”.
Reports from national and international media indicate that several persons have been killed, hundreds arrested and several others escaping into neighbouring Nigeria or bushes in search of refuge. Despite these, the Cameroon Government has not yielded to calls from the United Nations, European Union, La Francophonie, the Common Wealth, African Union and other Western Nations for an inclusive and frank dialogue to resolve the crisis.
The incessant arrests, molestation, killing and inhumane treatment of youths for allegedly siting with the separatists by the Cameroon defence forces, is forcing many Cameroonians from North West and South West regions to vacate the Country for fear of being victimised.
One of the victims of the prevailing victimisation of those allegedly supporting separatists, whose where-about remains unknown, is a Muyuka-based youth, Nakoko Ikoe Watkins Mukete, staff a road construction survey company, Makia LTD.
According to media reports, he was part of a team carrying out survey for the construction of a road in Mundemba when all of a sudden, a group of irate youths stormed the environment and assaulted them for “disrespecting the laws of the land”. Mr. Nakoko, managed to escape only to get information from the proprietor of the company that two of his colleagues were killed during the attack.
The Sun gathered from family sources that he was later accused for working with the pro-separatist irate youths who attacked the team and killed his colleagues. Military men stormed their residence the following day in Muyuka and carted him away to the Muyuka Gendarmerie post where he was flogged mercilessly before being detained under dehumanising conditions. He was bailed about five days after by the proprietor of Makia LTD, who advised him to escape because the late colleagues’ family were after his life, a family source hinted.
The SUN has it on good record that, as a result of the threat, he escaped with his family to Nigeria but life was too hard for him in Nigeria and he returned to Cameroon. Unfortunately for him, the hunt for him had not subsided. Reports have it that he was again picked up by the military, dragged in the mud, beaten to the extent that he collapsed, for supporting pro-separatist agenda.
According to a reliable family source, Mr. Nakoko Ikoe, was later taken to a local clinic (name withheld for security reasons), where he gained consciousness. A nurse at the clinic, knowing that the military was waiting to detain him, helped Nakoko to sneak through the back door and escape. Since then, the military have been looking for him but his where about remains a conjecture. Meanwhile, his wife is said to have escaped to the bush for fear of the unknown.
It should be noted that any one arrested in connection with Anglophone crisis, whether guilty or not, is immediately termed a “terrorist” with the propensity of being tried in a military court. The cry of many is that the Cameroon Government harkens to call for dialogue so the crisis can be resolved and things return to normalcy within the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.