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Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) led a letter signed by a group of Democratic Senators to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raising deep concerns about violations of human rights, the breakdown in the rule of law, and elections fraud in Cameroon. In addition to Senator Van Hollen, the letter was signed by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

The Senators write, “Cameroon has become an increasingly important regional counterterrorism partner and the United States has increased its commitment of security assistance in recent years. However, rising tensions in the Anglophone North West and South West regions, coupled with credible reports of human rights abuses by the Cameroonian armed forces in those regions and the Far North, where Boko Haram is active, have changed the tone of discussions regarding U.S. security assistance.”

They continue, “Reports indicate that government forces are responsible for extrajudicial killings, the burning of villages, torture, and other human rights abuses, including a much-publicized video reportedly showing soldiers executing two women, a child, and a baby they accused of being members of Boko Haram. The violent death of American missionary Charles Wesco underscores the level of bloodshed engulfing the Anglophone areas of the country. United Nations figures indicate that more than 21,000 Cameroonians have fled to neighboring countries and 160,000 are internally displaced.”

The Senators close the letter urging, “The U.S. government should make clear to the government of Cameroon that, while we remain dedicated to the fight against Boko Haram, our commitment to human rights and the rule of law is steadfast and we expect our regional partners to share that commitment. We must also emphasize the critical importance of a political solution to the crisis in the Anglophone regions, work with civil society groups to ensure that elections are free, open, and transparent, and offer our assistance as mediators. The United States should impose sanctions on individuals found to have committed gross violations of human rights, consistent with the law. In addition, we will work with our colleagues in the Senate to assess whether additional conditions should be imposed on security assistance to Cameroon.”

The full text of the letter can be found here and below.

Dear Secretary Pompeo:

We are writing in response to concerns that have been raised about the recent elections in Cameroon, the ongoing crisis in the Anglophone regions of the country, and human rights abuses related to the crisis and the campaign against Boko Haram.

Cameroon has become an increasingly important regional counterterrorism partner and the United States has increased its commitment of security assistance in recent years. However, rising tensions in the Anglophone North West and South West regions, coupled with credible reports of human rights abuses by the Cameroonian armed forces in those regions and the Far North, where Boko Haram is active, have changed the tone of discussions regarding U.S. security assistance.

Reports indicate that government forces are responsible for extrajudicial killings, the burning of villages, torture, and other human rights abuses, including a much-publicized video reportedly showing soldiers executing two women, a child, and a baby they accused of being members of Boko Haram. The violent death of American missionary Charles Wesco underscores the level of bloodshed engulfing the Anglophone areas of the country. United Nations figures indicate that more than 21,000 Cameroonians have fled to neighboring countries and 160,000 are internally displaced.

In addition, recent elections were marred by irregularities and intimidation. Voter turnout in the Anglophone regions was reportedly “marked by apathy, and in some regions, outright fear,” and driven to unprecedented lows by the military’s campaign against Anglophone separatists, which has often veered into human rights abuses against civilians. The results of the election remain heavily disputed, and multiple presidential candidates have petitioned for the results to be voided, citing allegations of ballot stuffing and intimidation. The program director for Central Africa at the International Crisis Group told Foreign Policy that “[t]here is an emerging civil war. Anglophones feel completely disenfranchised, but they didn’t need the elections to tell them that.”

The U.S. government should make clear to the government of Cameroon that, while we remain dedicated to the fight against Boko Haram, our commitment to human rights and the rule of law is steadfast and we expect our regional partners to share that commitment. We must also emphasize the critical importance of a political solution to the crisis in the Anglophone regions, support civil society groups to ensure that elections are free, credible, and transparent, and offer our assistance as mediators. The United States should impose sanctions on individuals found to have committed gross violations of human rights, consistent with the law. In addition, we will work with our colleagues in the Senate to assess whether additional conditions should be imposed on security assistance to Cameroon.

We look forward to working with you on this critical issue.

Sincerely,

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Source: vanhollen.senate.gov

The Embassy of the United States of America in Cameroon has once again warned its citizens to avoid the troubled English-speaking regions of the country where security forces have been clashing with armed separatist fighters.

The conflict that has left several persons internally displaces and many fleeing to neighboring Nigeria as many persons have equally lost their lives.

“The level of violence in the Southwest and Northwest Regions continues to increase.   In recent weeks, U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes in both regions. Due to the violence, many medical facilities in these areas are reported to be closed, inaccessible, or severely understaffed,” the US Embassy said in a statement.

“All but mission-essential travel by U.S. Embassy personnel to these regions is prohibited:  our ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in these areas is extremely limited,” the statement added.

The US Embassy in Cameroon had equally cautioned its citizens to take various security measures when moving around in the capital Yaounde following news of waves of mass arrests conducted by security forces.

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Source: journalducameroun.com

 

An American missionary who arrived Cameroon on the 18th of October 2018 with his wife and 8 children has been killed by forces loyal to the Biya Francophone regime. Charles Trumann Wesco was shot in Bambui some few kilometers from Bamenda the chief city in the Northern zone.

Cameroon Concord News sources revealed that the late Charles Truman did receive emergency treatment at Bambui and was referred to the Bamenda Regional Hospital but died from injuries sustained from gunshots aimed at him.

A District Medical Officer reportedly called for an ambulance from Bamenda this morning to transport a female student shot in the stomach by Cameroon government forces in Bambui but the rescue team were refused passage around Mile 6 Nkwen by Biya regime soldiers.

Our senior correspondent in Bamenda said there were civilian casualties in Bambili that could not be reached by the emergency team. We understand intense fighting is going on in Bambui and Bambili involving Ambazonian Restoration forces and Cameroon government troops.

An American Missionary by name Charles Trumann Wesco shot dead in Bambui, Northen zone of Ambazonia by French Cameroun military.
A press release from the Interim Government of Ambazonia.
Tuesday, October 30th, 2018. The press release read.

An American Missionary by name Charles Trumann Wesco shot dead in Bambui, Northen zone of Ambazonia by French Cameroun military.

An American Missionary by name Charles Trumann Wesco shot dead in Bambui, Northen zone of Ambazonia by French Cameroun military. A press release from the Interim Government of Ambazonia.Tuesday, October 30th, 2018. The press release read.Follow SCBC TV on Twitter using this link: https://twitter.com/scbc_tv

Posted by Southern Cameroons Broadcasting Corporation – SCBC on Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Author: Asu Vera Eyere

Source: Cameroon Concord News

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Security

Cameroon is a linchpin both in the global war on terror and in support of UN and African Union peace operations.

The United States has trained the BIR (Bataillon d’Intervention Rapide) for operations against Boko Haram and continues to maintain a significant presence, but the BIR is now active in the west, operating from its large base in Ambas Bay, near Limbe with the same impunity as it does in the far north.

Concerns have also been raised in Israel about its past training and equipping of the BIR.

The UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic depends on the port of Douala and Cameroon’s road network to transport needed supplies to the landlocked country, in addition to the 1,000 troops, Cameroon deploys there.

Besides the historically strong security ties with France, China is becoming a close defense partner.

The African Union selected Douala as the site for its AU Continental Logistics Base.

Economy

Large investments by French, U.S., Chinese and U.K. firms further insulate the Biya regime against international censure.

The Chad-Cameroon pipeline, which luckily for Yaoundé does not transit the western regions, ships crude oil for landlocked Chad produced by two major international producers: ExxonMobil and the China National Petroleum Company.

U.K.-based New Age LNG Ltd finalized an agreement in June with the Cameroon government for its offshore natural gas production near Limbe in the Southwest region.

Ambazonia groups raised alarms about the nature of this deal with New Age.

Early in 2018, Kribi Port was officially commissioned, a deep-sea container terminal built and financed by China and operated by a Franco-Chinese consortium.

The fees, taxes, and royalties from these projects and others fund administration, military expenditures and Biya’s frequent travel, but they don’t incentivize the government to build the foundations of an inclusive political and economic system or worry about falling cocoa production by small-scale producers, mostly in the west.

These factors clarifies why the government is not heeding to any calls and the UN and AU are liptied.

Only the people of Cameroon can decide their future.

Source: thepostnewspapercameroon

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Silva Munuza was describing the deadly conflict back home in Cameroon to Cliff Jones, his pastor in Laurel Springs.

A 38-year-old accountant who lives in Clementon and has a young daughter, Munuza talked about the brutality of the security forces, the burning of villages, and of the dead. And then his voice broke.

“Silva couldn’t keep on speaking,” Jones recalled. “He knows people who have been killed.”

The effect on the pastor was profound.

“When I saw a brother in Christ break down four times in the space of five minutes,”  he said,  “I realized that we need to do something.”

That’s why St. Paul’s Presbyterian, a cozy church on a pretty street in small-town Camden County, is praying for Cameroon, a West African nation where six complicated decades of tension between the English-speaking minority and the French-speaking majority threaten to erupt into civil war.

The pastor, Munuza, and others in the church hope to educate the congregation and the public about the situation in that riven, faraway land, and are exploring other ways to help. A good number of the 200 people in the English-speaking Cameroonian community that has taken root in South Jersey during the last 20 years are Presbyterian, and belong to St. Paul’s.

Silva Munuza, center, who emigrated from Cameroon to the United States 10 years ago, prays during Sunday services at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Laurel Springs. Munuza is an elder at the church and is working to educate the congregation about the increasingly deadly political violence in his homeland.

JOSE F. MORENO: Silva Munuza, center, who emigrated from Cameroon to the United States 10 years ago, prays during Sunday services at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Laurel Springs. Munuza is an elder at the church and is working to educate the congregation about the increasingly deadly political violence in his homeland.

I met Munuza there during services on a recent Sunday, and later sat down with him and five other Cameroonians in Fellowship Hall at the church.

Until I started working on this column, pretty much all I’d known about Cameroon was that the Sixers’ amazing Joel Embiid is from there.  I’ve since been reading news stories online and watching YouTube clips about the turmoil, and I’ve seen some of the awful images — a man on his knees being beaten, a charred body in a ruined, roofless house, entire villages reduced to cinders — that have been widely disseminated on social media. I’ve also visited the website of the self-described “interim government” of an envisioned English-speaking, independent Cameroonian state to be called the Federal Republic of Ambazonia.

But nothing prepared me for the conversation around the table.

“My brother died on the spot, and a neighbor who was like a father to me had just left his home and also was killed,” said Ernest Awa, 40, a health-care worker who lives in Lindenwold. “I lost those two people,” he said softly.

Awa was describing the events of Sept. 1 in Pinyin, a village in the northwestern portion of the English-speaking part of the country, where many of the Cameroonians in South Jersey have family. Witnesses posted videos charging security forces the government claims are seeking to quell a separatist rebellion with shooting civilians at will.

“My cousin was killed the same day,” Munuza said. “He had special needs, and when everybody was running, he didn’t know what was happening. He was standing in front of his house, and they shot him.”

At the table, a young Cameroonian woman who lives in Camden County and asked not to be identified because she feared for her family’s safety said she hasn’t been able to reach her father back home for the last two weeks. He’s in his 70s and escaped an attack near Pinyin by hiding in the wilderness, she said.

“I don’t know when I will be able to go back there,” said Valerie Mouthchia, 45, a project manager who lives in Clementon. She has become an American citizen and said the U.S. should not support the government in Cameroon, which she said is responsible for human rights violations there.

The people around the table described the conflict as a colonial legacy made worse by the authoritarian rule of longtime francophone President Paul Biya. The results of a contentious Oct. 7 presidential election are expected to be made public Oct. 22, with some media in the country predicting Biya will win.

Despite the rising numbers of casualties, displaced persons, and refugees — thousands of Cameroonians have fled across the border into Nigeria — Americans generally know little about Cameroon or its escalating crisis.

Pastor Cliff Jones, right, greets Marcel Njighe, who’s originally from Cameroon, at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Laurel Springs. The congregation prays for Cameroon, which some observers describe as on the verge of civil war. Jones said the people in his flock also want to learn more about the situation, and to do more to help.JOSE F. MORENO: Pastor Cliff Jones, right, greets Marcel Njighe, who’s originally from Cameroon, at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Laurel Springs. The congregation prays for Cameroon, which some observers describe as on the verge of civil war. Jones said the people in his flock also want to learn more about the situation, and to do more to help.

Nevertheless, “Americans can become more aware,” Munuza said. “They can call their representatives. They can tweet. They can call for an end to the genocide.”

I asked the pastor of St. Paul’s how even a faith-filled, 360-member-strong congregation could realistically expect to have an impact on a complicated human tragedy so far away.

“For us, prayer is important,” Jones said. “Knowing people who are going through this, whose immediate family members have been killed, brings this to a much more personal level. We need to do something, and not just in words.”

Author: Kevin Riordan 

Source: www2.philly.com

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