By Blandine Nnoko With Field Reports
As the crisis that has been rocking the North West and South West regions, which has spiraled into an armed conflict, rages on, the government has stepped up its crackdown on all those suspected to be activists or sympathizers to the Anglophone course.
In this light, security operatives have been indiscriminately arresting Anglophone activists and suspected activists. This has caused many of them to flee into hiding and the whereabouts of many is not known.
Sources say the arrested activists are being tortured and detained under unspeakable and inhuman conditions. Some have reportedly died in detention.
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.
But as government search on the activists and sympathizers escalates, several cases have been reported.
A case in point is that of Mrs. Asong Christensia owner of an NGO known as IVVYEBO who according to a communique issued on 19 February 2020 by the Minister of Territorial Administration (Minat) Paul Atanga Nji with subject Report/findings on the incident/massacre that occurred on 14 February 2020 At Ngarbuh, Ndu, Donga-Mantung Division, North West Region, Cameroon accused her of being in constant communication with separatist fighters such as the dreaded Oliver Lekeaka aka Field Marshal, leader of the Red Dragons in embattled Lebialem Division of the South West Region.
According to the communique, the said Mrs. Asong Christensia who is said to have flee the country and is based in the USA has been relaying contrary information to the American government as she is a stung promoter and activist/separatist.
The Minister’s communique further stipulates that from 2012 to early 2014, Mrs. Asong Christensia worked with people like Asong Emmanuel, Ayangwe Sandrine Asong and Ndukang Kelvin under the disguise of her NGO by sending information to Mrs. Asong with the information used in their SCNC meetings to target the Cameroon government.
From the MINAT findings, the entire Asong family whose origin is Lebialem, a strong hold for separatist fighters has been implicated in the struggle of a separate state from La Republic since 1999.
With the government now on a man hunt search for promoters of the ongoing conflict, it is evident that persons such as Samuel Ikome Sako (USA), Asong Christensia(USA), Chris Anu (USA), Oliver Lekeaka(Cameroon), Ndukang Kelvin (Mexico), Asong Emmanuel (Tunisoi) and Ayangwe Sandrine Asong (Sweden) who are alleged sponsors of the crisis in the Anglophone regions will face the wrath of the law shoud they be apprehended by state operatives.
If any of these persons are arrested, they will be tried by a military tribunal under the anti-terrorism law whose maximum sentence is the death penalty. That is if he is not killed like many others who have been victims of extra-judicial killings.
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 Organisations and other Western powers have called on the Government to address the root cause through dialogue.
Origin of Anglophone crisis
The Anglophone crisis, something that pundits say had been brewing for several years, boiled over in November 2016, when Common Law Lawyers in the North West and South West regions went on strike. They were demanding for the return of the federal system of government, redeployment of Civil Law Magistrates back to Civil Law Courts in French Cameroon, among other grievances. Not long after, teachers in the North West and South West regions also went on strike, demanding for the redress of several issues concerning the English system of education.
Things, however, got worst when Anglophones in both regions, who had been fed up with the unfavourable political and economic situation of the country, the use of French as the dominant and official language, and the marginalisation of the Anglophones, joined the strike.
The strike was met with brutal repression by the military, with many killed, some injured and several others arrested. The crisis later morphed into an armed conflict.
It should be recalled that a leading figure in the Ambazoniafight for independence, SisikuAyuk Julius Tabe, and eight other close associates were arrested in Nigeria in January 2018. They were later extradited to Cameroon and detained incommunicado for several months after which they were tried in a military tribunal and sentenced to life imprisonment.
While the Anglophone crisis continues to escalate, international organisations and other western powers have called on the Cameroon government to address the root cause.