BY CYNTHIA AKUM
More and more businessmen within the crisis-stricken Anglophone regions of Cameroon have resorted to going underground after surviving arrest and torture from the military for allegedly collaborating with separatists fighters, commonly known as ‘Amba Boys’, who are fighting for the restoration of the independence of the statehood of former British Southern Cameroons, termed Ambazonia.
The crisis, which started in 2016 with a strike action by Common Law lawyers and Anglophone teachers against marginalisation has transformed into an arm-conflict with Anglophones from all walks of life, including Southern Cameroon National Council, members, businessmen, nurses, youths and the clergy being killed in cross- fire between security forces and separatist fighters, while others are eithertermed black legs by ‘Amba boys’ and molested/kidnapped for ransom or arrested, tortured and tried at the military tribunals with life jail terms for allegedly taking side with the separatists.
Reports say this situation has caused many to migrate to French speaking towns and cities in Cameroon, while others have fled to neighbouring countries as refugees. According to statistics from human rights groups, over 3000 persons have been killed, hundreds kidnapped, thousands of houses and over 300 villages razed with over 53000 persons identified as Internally Displaced Persons , with over 35000 as refugees in Nigeria.Some have been left in constant tears either for the demise of their love ones or because their houses have been razed. These attacks have been so alarming that human rights groups across the board have concluded that Cameroon is longer safe.
The Cameroon Government has, for over three years now, been battling to arrest the situation but tensions continue to intensify with civilian population in the North West and South West regions in peril, panic and pandemonium.Due to this confusion, and fear of the unknown,many youths and businessmen continue to go underground.
The where about of a Kumba-based Businessman and Accountant, Mr Silvanie Njoh Maya, for example remains unknown since mid-February 2019, according to family sources. Reports say Mr Silvanie Njoh , who used to oversee their family super market in Kumba, went underground after he was kidnapped on January 18,2019 by Separatist fighters, manhandled and only released January 20, 2019 after a ransom of FCFA 1 million was paid. He was also threatened with death, if found anywhere close to the military.
The SUN has it on good record that that when news broke that Mr Silvanie Njoh, has been released, military men who had blacklisted him for joining the separatist fighters, stormed their family super market, and instead arrested two workers of the super market whose where about remains a mystery.
A close family source disclosed that, after the arrest of these workers, Mr Silvanie Njoh, escaped and his where about remains a conjecture. Meanwhile, there are all indications that if arrested, he will face terrorism charges and may be handed life jail sentence like several leaders of the self-proclaimed state of Ambazonia.