By Collins Ashu
One of the major goals of the Ministries of Defence and Territorial Administration for 2022 is to see that the country is extremely peaceful, as Government is bent on stopping gun battles and unlawful killings, especially between the military and the Amba boys.
This follows President Paul Biya’s wish for the country to be calm and friendly enough, especially during the Africa Cup of Nations that the country will be hosting.
The Government has been doubling efforts to search and arrest all those that seem to be threatening peace and are constantly making the nation come up negatively in news and in the eyes of the international community.
There were some celebrations yesterday at the Kondengui Central Prison in Yaounde and the Ministries of Defence and Territorial Administration, following the arrest of some teachers and lawyers that the Government has been in search of for three years plus.
Sources say those arrested include; Catharine Pauline Vemkuso, Desmunf Kandemo Tefebrus, Ndankea Simon Yumtawe, Ignatius Cyprian Leneqfac, Erika Queenicet Mba, who is a teacher, was earlier arrested in Nigeria. It was said that these key actors in the Ambazonia Crisis were in the bush somewhere in Nkwen, Bamenda, but Erika Queenicet Mba, who is a teacher, was arrested and brought in from Nigeria with the help of the Nigerian authorities.
Four persons who are said to have attempted to escape were shot dead during the arrest. Three out of the four, namely: Weliga Satanga , Blessing Ubenke, Mr John Bibonka Ofungor, died on the spot while one teacher, Grace Baitei Azumbre, died on her way to the hospital.
However, they were disappointed that one person, a notorious teachers’ trade union activist, Bumamboh Terence Tanila, who they thought was among those arrested or shot, was not among. Sources said the security and defence forces searched his family premises, interrogated friends and colleagues and even arrested some people to disclose his whereabouts. The Government had long pressed charges of disturbing public order, rebellion and secession on Bumamboh Terence Tanila.
They believe his arrest and that of a few others in the Anglophone Crisis will stop the supply of ideas, strategies and resources to the Amba fighters. He is said to be resilient, despite warnings, and the link in the supply of information from Ambazonia leaders abroad to the fighters on the ground.
A bounty reward was reportedly placed on him and his wife and other Anglophone activists when the Government issued an international arrest warrant when the Anglophone Crisis escalated in 2017.
Origin of Crisis
Anglophones started complaining about marginalisation a few years after British Southern Cameroons got independence by joining the French Republic of Cameroun. The simmering tempers rose when President Biya, who became a constitutional President in 1982, changed the name of the country in 1984 from United Republic of Cameroun, reverting to Republic of Cameroon which is the name French Cameroun had before the union with Southern Cameroons and the two became the Federal Republic of Cameroon.
Anglophones continued complaining about the erosion of their Anglo-Saxon virtues and values (culture) which were being eroded by successive Francophone-led regimes. Several memos were sent to President Biya on the marginalisation of Anglophones and the Anglo-Saxon culture, among the outstanding ones being that of the All Anglophone Conference, AAC I in 1993 in Buea, and AAC II in 1994 in Bamenda, of which the President ignored all, until in 2016, when Anglophones could no longer take it and engaged civil disobedience action. Anglophone lawyers and teachers championed strike actions, including street demonstrations which were ruthlessly repressed by the Yaounde Government.
The situation escalated when President Biya declared war against demonstrations, calling them acts of terrorism and rolled out all the various units of the armed forces and Anglophone activists were either arrested and incarcerated or shot and killed.
Anglophone youths then took up arms to defend their kith and kin, and thus began a war which is getting to its sixth year now.