BY TRACY ANNIE
The crisis that has been raging in the North and South West regions of Cameroon has taken a new twist, as security forces are making things too hot for activists of the Southern Cameroons National Council, SCNC, and other sympathizers of the Anglophone crises. Many of the activists have been arrested, tortured, detained and killed while others are on the run for fear of their lives.
After the crisis escalated into an armed conflict, the government resorted to using brutal force to quell down the activists, to wit arbitrary mass arrest and illegal detentions.
Sources say the arrested activists are being tortured and detained under horrendous and inhumane conditions. Many of the activists have thus decided to flee out of the country, while some have reportedly died in detention.
Suh Kelvin Fru, John Che Ngwa, Chungong Espse Mbanyamsig Vivian Ngwenyi and Patience Abongwa Sirri who were public relations officers of SCNC in their various sub-divisions of the North West Region of Cameroon and many others have suffered repeated attacks, arrests, detentions and torture in the hands of security forces due to their commitment and passion in restoring the independence of Southern Cameroons.
The above crackdown by the government did not in any way deter the activists from activism; they kept organizing rallies in their various sub-divisions with the aim of sensitizing the people of an independent Southern Cameroons, while preparing to hoist their flag all over Southern Cameroons in commemoration of their independence day, which is usually every 1st of October.
On the 1st of October 2018 while Southern Cameroonians of the North West Region gathered at Commercial Avenue, Bamenda, to celebrate their Independence Day, the security forces swooped on them. Unfortunately, Suh Kelvin Fru, John Che Ngwa and Chungong Espse Mbanyamsig Vivian Ngwenyi were amongst those arrested and detained again.
Some of them are reported to have escaped from detention under conditions which remain sketchy. However, some sources say they may have been killed because many who have been arrested and detained within the context of the Anglophone crisis have ended up disappearing.
It is also reported that the residence of those activists who mysteriously escaped from detention are being stormed severally by the security forces in search for them. They have been declared WANTED by the government, with a pending warrant of arrest against each of them, for rebellion against the state and insurrection, which is life imprisonment and or death sentence.
Origin of the crisis
It is worth recalling that the Anglophone crisis, something that pundits say had been brewing for several years, boiled over in 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 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 regions, who had been fed up with the unfavourable political and especially economic stagnation of Cameroon at large, but more importantly in these regions, joined the strike.
But after negotiations with the teachers and lawyers ended in deadlock, the government 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 such as Barrister Bobga Harmony and Tassang Wilfred fled into hiding.
It should be recalled that leaders of the Anglophone separatist movements including Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and nine others, who were arrested in Abuja, Nigeria in January 2018 and later extradited to Yaounde were in August 2019, handed life jail sentences.
It is also worth noting that many people, both civilians and security forces, have been killed in the crisis, many more internally displaced and over 30,000 have fled to neighbouring Nigeria where they are living as refugees.
While the Anglophone crisis continues to escalate, international organizations and other western powers have called on the government to address the root cause of the crisis.