BY TALLA AGHAA CHRISTOPHER
The government of Cameroon has intensified the search for activists of the outlawed Southern Cameroons National Council, SCNC, a secessionist pressure group clamouring for the independence of Southern Cameroons.
Southern Cameroons, it should be noted, is the then West Cameroon today the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon otherwise known as Anglophone Cameroon.
Following the ongoing Anglophone crisis that started in 2016 with Teachers of the English Sub System of Education and Common Law Lawyers decrying the marginalisation of West Cameroonians, SCNC activists added their voices to what has been termed by many as the Anglophone struggle, thus causing the government to have sleepless nights with accusing fingers pointing at all Anglophone activists at home and abroad.
The government has gone a long way to reiterate on several instances that all Anglophone activists, as well as SCNC activists shall have no rest in Cameroon as long as the struggle continues. The cases of SCNC activists who have taken on their heels for fear of arrest and subsequent persecution have been revisited. Some of the activists include Edoa Mbomo Claude Wilfred, Ephraim Sama Billa and Agbor Peter.
Human Rights Organisations in Cameroon have equally indicated that the lives of activists of Anglophone extraction are now in danger.
Many of the activists have been arrested and placed under degrading human conditions in maximum security detention facilities across the country.
Many have relocated to unknown destinations as their family homes and neighbourhoods have been on constant check by security operatives seeking to apprehend them due to their perceived anti-government opinions.
As tensions in the North West and South West Regions rages unabated, government has embarked on a mission to fish out sympathisers and activists backing what is now termed “Anglophone Crisis”.
Residences of suspected activists whose whereabouts remain a mystery are under police searchlights while some have been razed to the ground.
The case of 36-year-old Edoa Mbomo Claude Wilfred, who joined the SCNC sometimes in 2014, is very pathetic.
Reports hold that the whereabouts of Edoa Mbomo Claude Wilfred, who is currently under security operatives’ searchlight, has remained cloudy since January 2017 after she was released after serious negotiations with forces of law and order. Edoa Mbomo Claude Wilfred had spent three days in detention under degrading and inhumane conditions following her arrest in Yaounde by security operatives on January 4, 2017, family sources hinted.
According to information gathered, shortly after Edoa Mbomo adhered to the SCNC, she became an ardent member and participated in all their activities, distributing of flyers, brochures and attending SCNC propaganda meetings throughout Southern Cameroons.
In one of their secret meetings in Bamenda June 30,2016, to plan for peaceful demonstration to protest the detention and subsequent release of fifteen SCNC activists apprehended in Buea, the regime immediately issued an arrest warrant for all of them. They were subsequently arrested and incarcerated for five days under horrible conditions. Thanks to the intervention of a human rights lawyer, they were released after having endorsed an undertaking to desist from SCNC activities in the country. But this didn’t deter Edoa and other activists as they still continued their activism. She, like other SCNC leaders, campaigned for the boycott of Youth Day celebration on February 11, 2017. That’s how Edoa Mbomo Claude Wilfred and other activists will be declared wanted by the regime.
News of her search by the military caused family members to advice her to leave the country for fear of being arrested and subsequent persecution by the Yaounde regime.
Plain clothes security operatives since her disappearance have been making impromptu visits to their residence in search of Edoa Mbomo, family relations and neighbours have testified. Though criminal responsibility is personal, the mother of Edoa Mbomo has been placed under police custody several times just for her to indicate the whereabouts of Edoa Mbomo Claude Wilfred.
It should be recalled that many Anglophones have been apprehended in various military police checkpoints after their phones had been search messages, videos, pictures and images of the killings of Cameroon of Military by Ambazonia Defence Forces, ADF, discovered therein. They have been detained under draconian and inhumane detention conditions.
Recent statistics by civil society organisations reflect the extent of the damage with horrific numbers. The death toll is on the rise while there are claims that about 300 villages have been burnt down in two regions and some 500,000 people remain internally displaced with hundreds of thousand having fled to neighbouring Nigeria where they are living as refugees.