BY CYNTHIA AKUM
Despite the successful Major National Dialogue that took place in Yaoundé, September 30, 2019 to October 5, 2019 aimed at handling the Anglophone crisis rocking the restive North West and South West regions for about four years on, the government is sparing no effort at tracking down those she considers agents of the destruction of Cameroon with secessionist tendencies. Calls on all protagonists to embrace peace for a better and new Cameroon seems to have fallen on deaf ears as the arm conflict between separatist fighters and the defence forces rages on, with multiple deaths recorded on both sides, houses razed to the ground, villages burnt down and the number Internally Displaced Persons , IDPs, increasing on a daily basis.
As tensions intensify, the civilian population in the restive regions, both home and abroad, remains in peril, panic and pandemonium. Human Rights groups and non-governmental organizations have in one voice condemned the extrajudicial killings and inhumane condition meted by mostly the military on innocent civilians, including, students, youths, children, medical professionals and pregnant women. Reports indicate that about 4000 civilians’ lives have been claimed by the conflict, and about 750000 persons displaced with many living in horrible conditions in Nigeria.
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 through a frank and inclusive dialogue. Also prominent Anglophone Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor, has called on the Government to dialogue and release all Anglophone unlawfully arrested, detained and imprisoned . Recently, French President Emmanuel Macron promised to exert “maximum pressure” on President Paul Biya of Cameroon to end Cameroon’s intolerable human rights violations.
Human Rights Watch, (HRW) has documented abuses by both the separatists and the military in the Anglophone regions and is aware both students and medical professionals are among the civilians being targeted.
In the midst of all these, the Government is said to have established a fresh list of alleged activists targeted for arrest. The list is reported to have been given to intelligence services for action. Amongst the alleged activists on the blacklist are UK-based elected SCNC Chairman, Robert Tamanji, alongside other persons like Toukam Dongmo Fabrice and Orock Emilia.
One of these human rights promoters, Toukam Dongmo Fabrice, left Sweden to visit his sick mother in Cameroon but was arrested upon arrival by security operatives, April 2021, and whisked to the dreaded Douala Central Prison. Reports hold that Dongmo was arrested for being among those sponsoring the separatist fighters who have taken up arms against the government and the military. An allegation he refused, but was coerced to name other Cameroonians abroad supporting arm separatist groups.
Obsessed by the inhumane treatment in detention, Mr. Toukam is said to have voiced out his anger in his traditional language, which caught the attention of one of the security officers from his village. Out of tribal ties, the officer assisted Toukam to escape from the prison with firm instructions not to return to Cameroon again. This is how he left Cameroon to a destination that remains a conjecture.
Medical personnel on the run
Attacks on hospitals by both the military and armed separatists have left many professionals concerned for their lives. The most pathetic case is that of Fako-based State Registered Nurse, Orock Emilia, currently in Government’s searchlight for treating wounded separatist fighters. Her neighbours and colleagues testified they have been contacted severally by security forces to disclosed her where about.
It should be noted that the constant kidnapping, killing and detention of medical professional have provoked an outrage among the medical staff who say they are being threatened and murdered by both the military and the separatist fighters. The government is accusing them for treating armed separatists and hiding some in their hospitals.
Cameroon which was once internationally praised as one of the most peaceful countries in the world, is now struggling to cope with untold casualties, from what many qualify as an unrelenting and insidious conflict.