The leaders of Ambazonia abducted and illegally deported from Nigeria to Cameroon, have said faced with their current trial, they have only two choices; Independence or resistance to the last man standing. This decision is contained in a letter signed by the leaders currently locked up at the Kondengui prison in Yaounde.
In the letter obtained by CNA, the leaders of the former territory of British Southern Cameroons, now preferred Ambazonia, seeking a break-away from Cameroon, said they are tired of being tossed from one place to another by whom they described as colonizers.
They promised that the State of Ambazonia will be unique, free and will have concern for the weak, the less privilege, women, children among others.
They apologised for not being there to stop the massacre perpetrated by Cameroon Soldiers but promised that they will rebuild their nation , eliminate tribalism and encourage good governance.
The letter comes few days to a crucial court session on March 7, 2019 when the kidnapped leaders are expected at the military court in Yaounde.
It also comes barely days after the Nigerian Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the Nigerian Government to bring back the leaders from Cameroon.
The court ruled that, their kidnap and deportation did not respect international laws because the deportees were duly registered or in the process of having refugee status.
“The Ambazonia Freedom Protocol:” defines the nature and values of the society the Ambazonia movement envisions to a global audience. The anonymous person who leaked the document pointed to the fact that it also contains the minimum acceptable terms for any negotiations to end the conflict between Cameroon and the former UN trust territory of Southern Cameroons under UK administration now christened Ambazonia, after the 1st of October 2017 declaration of the restoration of their statehood by the leader Sisiku Ayuktabe.
Concerned Cameroonian pro-democracy activists met at three venues in the world earlier this week, to launch a global initiative meant to advocate for international intervention to halt ongoing human rights violations in the country.
The activists thronged venues in Johannesburg (South Africa), Geneva (Switzerland) and New York (USA) to launch the Global Initiative, a multi-pronged approach meant to pressure President Paul Biya’s administration to end the military brutality.
International human rights watchdogs that include Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have over the past few weeks published harrowing details of events in which the Cameroonian military fired indiscriminately at civilians. Many have reportedly been killed, while more than 200,000 are said to have been displaced during the last few months, during clashes between Biya’s government and members of the English-speaking part of the country, who are fighting for the separate state of Ambazonia.
The United States government said earlier this week it was scaling back on its security assistance with Biya’s government, emphasizing the need to for the ruling elite to show greater transparency in investigating credible allegations of gross violations of human rights by the security forces, particularly in the Northwest, Southwest, and Far North Regions.
Last summer, Amnesty International released an analysis of two videos that appeared to show Cameroonian security forces executing unarmed people, including children, in the country’s far northern region.
Patrick Ayuk, Director of Sam Soya Center for Democracy and Human Rights (SSCDHR), told Southern Express News Friday that the press conferences, held Thursday, marked the launch of the Global Initiative by faith leaders and non-governmental organisations and peace and human rights groups.
“The press conferences were held to call on the UN Human Rights Council to immediately send a high-level fact-finding delegation to stop the ongoing military brutality and other forms of violence in Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia),” said Mr Ayuk.
“The Johannesburg conference took place at Christ the King Cathedral in Berea. The coalition remains a non-partisan force focusing on an immediate end to violence and ultimately lead to a peaceful exercise of self-determination of Human Rights, consistent with international declaration of human rights.”
He said the coalition would be submitting a petition during the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that will be held in Geneva on February 25.
The United States will withhold military assistance to Cameroon over allegations of gross human rights violations by its security forces in the northwest, southwest and far north regions, a state department official said on Wednesday.
According to the official, the US had terminated a C-130 aircraft training program, and halted deliveries of four defender boats, nine armored vehicles and an upgrade of a Cessna aircraft for Cameroon’s rapid intervention battalion.
Furthermore, the United States had withdrawn its offer for Cameroon to be part of the State Partnership Program, a military cooperation program, the official said.
We do not take these measures lightly, but we will not shirk from reducing assistance further if evolving conditions require it.
“We do not take these measures lightly, but we will not shirk from reducing assistance further if evolving conditions require it,” the official said. “For the time being, other programs will continue.”
Cameroon has cooperated closely with the United States in the fight against Islamist militant group Boko Haram in West and central Africa. But rights groups have accused authorities of using the fight against Boko Haram to crack down on political opponents, and make arbitrary arrests and torture people.
Cameroon’s ongoing political crisis
Authorities arrested opposition leader Maurice Kamto in January, accusing him of mobilizing dissent against President Paul Biya, who has ruled the country since 1982.
Biya has been accused by the opposition and rights groups of cracking down in the Anglophone Southwest region to root out armed separatists trying to end his grip on power.
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in Nigeria and neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon during Boko Haram’s campaign to carve out an Islamic caliphate in northeast Nigeria.
“We emphasize that it is in Cameroon’s interest to show greater transparency in investigating credible allegations of gross violations of human rights security forces,” the State Department official said.
The corpses of at least nine young men were discovered in Mamfe, Manyu Division of the South West region on Monday morning, sources have confirmed.
Local sources said at least four corpses were discovered at Okoyong, three at Besongabang and one at Banya quarter while another around a primary school. Gruesome images which we got showed young men in their mid twenties lying in their own pool of blood.
Circumstances surrounding their demise are still not clear but locals say sporadic gunshots were heard last night in Mamfe while others talk of a military raid in the area.
Gunshots were equally heard in Mamfe early this morning as several residents preferred to remain indoors for their sfaety.
Last week, a boy in his twenties succumbed to a stray bullet during an exchange of fire between security forces and Ambazonia restoration fighters in Mamfe.
Kumbo Town is the second largest town in the North West Region of Cameroon, one of the restive English-speaking regions clamouring for autonomy. In recent times it has become an epicentre in the on-going conflict between Cameroon military forces and restorationist forces of the putative Republic of Ambazonia, often known as the Amba Boys. An unprecedented wave of violence has taken the town captive and is rooted in the New Year’s message of President Paul Biya as he approaches his 86th birthday, to use crude military force to quell the uprising if the terrorist/rebels do not lay down their arms.
In the early hours of January 1st, at 00.05am, to show allegiance to Biya (now in power for over 26 years), there was a deafening and frightful salvo of gunshots in all military facilities in the town causing the inhabitants flee to safety. The war had started.
The Score Board
In this month of January 2019 areas of the town such as Mbev, Ndzenji, Squares, SAC Junction, Mantum, Ber, and Meluf have been deprived of the right to own and live in decent houses. The conflagration of military fire has reduced many houses to ashes and forced many people to flee to unknown destinations, paving the way for mass looting from the forces of lawlessness and disorder. Many doors of houses are standing ajar after their crude acts. Soldiers come in waves and depart with looted material, especially Android appliances and food items. This probably is a well orchestrated and planned tool and strategy in this war of attrition. Target killings, extra-judicial execution, disappearances and abductions have become the hallmark of their presence.
In Mbve on January 18th, a pregnant nurse on her way to resume work at Shisong General Hospital was mercilessly gunned down by soldier from a rooftop.Two days later an early dawn raid was effected by the military within the premises of Shisong Hospital causing double trauma for the hospital patients as well as the Cardiac Unit. A young Internally Displaced boy of 17 who had never witnessed heavy military presence ran into the house where he was hosted for safety, but was unfortunately pulled out and riddled with bullets beyond recognition. Shisong, which hosted many IDPs, is experiencing a re-displacement, making a bad case worse. There is almost daily military presence and shooting around the hospital in the night and the IDPs plus their hosts have all flocked into the wards. No one can be certain of what is to come. There is an atmosphere of foreboding.
Everyone seems resigned to their fate. The military units making their entry from the West Region into Kumbo are leaving behind a trail of destruction of houses beyond imagination. Food stuff for people’s consumption is set ablaze. This is scorched earth policy. The civilians must pay the price.
January 21st a young bike rider at Squares-Kumbo round-about, who had just dropped off a passenger, ran into a military convoy returning from Shisong and was pulled off his bike and slaughtered with impunity. In Tankum Quarter, the story was no different; two young boys in their teens had their throats slit open by the military on allegations of being Amba affiliates. Minutes later military canisters were directed to another quarter, Kongir, setting a house ablaze, killing a two year old child therein, and wounding the sister and mother, who were lying in bed. Also, women have been raped with impunity. Goats and chickens have equally paid a price with their lives for roaming freely in town. They are shot and packed into military vans possibly for consumption. Beer parlours with stocks of beer that have been locked are invaded by these unfriendly visitors who consume the stock to excess and then shatter the remains into bits and pieces, thereby ruining the business of a proprietor.
Kumbo Town which used to be bustling with activity has become a dead town, a ghost town, a town abandoned to fate. About seven out of every ten houses have been abandoned. Frequent electricity black-outs or cuts are alarming. The cost of petrol and diesel has risen to absurd heights. The prices of basic foodstuffs have risen considerably. Getting water for use and consumption has become a Herculean task. Many people die in homes because they cannot afford the means to reach hospital. Many pregnant women have escaped into the bushes and far off villages for safety, disregarding anti-natal checks and clinics.
Commercial activities are at a standstill, with a gross shortage of basic commodities – even those that are available are sold at unbearable prices. Educational facilities are completely shut down and unemployment has soared. Dead IDPs are buried in the absence of relations by people of good will. Houses along the main road in the town are branded with bullet holes. Civilian farms within the precincts of military facilities have been torched and destroyed in order to create a buffer zone. Fugitives and IDPs moving into other regions are not free from harassment and death-threats. In Douala, IDPs are forced to pay a tax before being accommodated. Some are demeaned through innuendo and ethnic slurs. Many people wearing clothing of certain colours have become targets for the military. Wearers of black, the classic icon of tough guys, and red the emblematic insignia of Amba Boys, have become targets for elimination by the military. Bike Riders have not been spared from this fate.
On the other hand, Amba Boys that shoot for restoration forces, though defending and fighting for the marginalised, have equally left their own mark. Government sympathisers and those critical of them are whisked-off to unknown destinations where they are tortured beyond recognition and released only when a ransom is paid. They have frequently interrupted the little attempted commercial activity with death threats. Any Amba critic or sell-out receives the crown of brutality from the Amba Fist of Fury. Transit fees/fares demanded by Amba affiliates are heartbreaking. Moving from one Administrative Division to another is a nightmare with numerous check-points for both Amba and military forces. Having identity papers with a Cameroon Government Logo is nauseating and acrimonious to Amba Boys and a lack of them at Cameroon Government checkpoints is an occasion for arrest, torture, incarceration and death. This is the predicament of the inhabitants of Kumbo.
Reflection: “Actions that are designed for the methodical extermination of an entire people, nation or ethnic minority are always to be condemned as horrendous crimes” (Gaudium et Spes 79). “Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities or of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation” (Gaudium et Spes 80). The obligation of preventing war lies on all nations. A world organisation that has Supreme legitimacy and authority seem to be the most apt means of preventing war and promoting peace.
Conclusion: Pride which is the spurious feeling of superiority leads to errors of judgment with the consequences of disgrace, destruction, opposition, and downfall. There is the need for upgrading the call to the international community to intervene and force the warring parties to the bargaining table in an inclusive dialogue; for the pen is mightier than the sword. If the present trend of events continues unabated, there will surely be a replay of the Rwandan episode, plunging the entire Central African Sub-region into a morass. A stitch in time saves nine! For now, “as wanton boys are to the flies so are we to the gods, they kill us for their sport.” Source: Independent Catholic News.
Lawyers of the detained leaders of the Ambazonia have urged the Yaounde military tribunal to return the accused to Nigeria where they were arrested over a year ago for their nationalities to be established.
They made their submission on Thursday January 10 as the case against the ten detained Ambazonia re-opened at the Yaounde military tribunal.
The detainees had rejectted their Cameroonian nationality in the previous hearing and did same on Wednesday insisting they were refugees of the former British Southern Cameroons on exile in Nigeria at the time of their arrest and extradition to Nigeria. The case wase adjourned for the 7
Barrister Patrick Yong said the military tribunal is not competent to try the accused given that questions have been raised over their nationality.
Given that their nationality is a subject of debate, only a civil court can establish it according to section 41(1) of the 1968 nationality codde. The residences of the accused have been mentioned by the judge and going by the Section 41(2) of the 1968 nationality code, « any such action shall be brought before the court of the domicile or failing that the residence of the person whose nationality is disputed, according to the rules of procedure in force, and the raising of Cameroon of foreign of procedure in force, and the raising of Cameroon of foreign nationality as a defence before any other court suspends further proceedings until decided in the ordinary civil court ».
He thus urged the court to order for the detainees to be flown back to Nigeria where their nationalites can be determined.
However, the Prosecutor Colonel Engono Thadée Consatant raised an objection saying most of the accused have worked for the Cameroon Public Service for years and can not today deny their Cameroonian nationality. He cited various means where loss of nationality can be applied but said the Ambazonia leaders do not fall under that category. Quoting Section 31(a) of the 1968 nationality code( Any Cameroon adult national who wilfully acquires or keeps a foreign nationality), he said the Ambazonia leaders still maintain their Cameroonian nationality. He defended the decision to extradite the Ambazonia leaders to Cameroon claiming they pose a heavy security threat to Nigeria thus they can also not be returned.
Anglophone activists in Cameroon and the diaspora have accused Cameroonian government-backed security forces of burning dead bodies of secessionist fighters a day after the bodies were piled in a spot in Bali the North West region of Cameroon.
Mark Bareta a leading figure in the Anglophone struggle said, ‘La Republique (The Cameroon Government backed) military set corpses of 30 Young men Ablaze! Untold darkness, lamentation and melancholy unravel Bali in the Northern zone of Southern Cameroons’, he continues by lamenting ‘Oh Lord we can’t live with these people’.
Another staunch activist for the protection of Anglophone rights in Cameroon, Jude Mortimer Kehla posted two pictures of the harrowing incident on his Facebook page and cried to one Facebook user the pictures are of ‘Young men burnt in Bali (in the Northwest region of Cameroon)’, telling another, ‘Children reduced to so much charred meat’. National Times could not post the pictures because they are too graphic.
National Times can confirm that the 17 dead bodies were of secessionist fighters killed in Bali. However, we could not independently verify the authenticity of the claims that the youths were killed by Cameroonian government-backed forces neither could we confirm that they were burnt by government-backed forces.
More than 1000 youths have died in the conflict between government-backed security forces and secessionist groups in Cameroon’s two Anglophone regions. While most of the casualties have been recorded by secessionist fighters, dozens of government-backed security agents have also been killed in the killings. Fighting between different secessionist groups have also led to the death of dozens of others.
This is the second instance where corpses of death secessionist fighters have been burnt instead of been buried. It is unknown why the perpetrators of this heinous practice decide to burn the corpses rather than burying them or returning the dead bodies to their various communities.
A priest serving in Cameroon has been killed by military gunfire, amid a military and political conflict that has rocked the country in recent years.
Fr. Cosmas Ombato Ondari was reportedly killed Nov. 21 in Mamfe, a city in the country’s southwest, CNA has learned. Onari, a member of the Mill Hill Missionaries, had been serving in the country since March 2017, when he was ordained a priest.
Ondari is the second priest killed in recent months in the country. Fr. Alexander Sob Nougi was killed July 20 in the same province where Onari was shot. Nougi was shot at close range, in an attack that Church officials said was a targeted assassination.
In October, a 19-year-old seminarian was killed in a neighboring province, the epicenter of the country’s military conflict.
Earlier this month, a group of religious sisters was kidnapped by guerillas in the country’s northwest and released the next day.
Since 2017, guerillas in Cameroon have been fighting for the separation of the country’s English-speaking regions from its French-speaking territory. The fighters declared in October 2017 the independence of a new nation they have named ‘Ambazonia.’
The nearly three-year conflict has led to several hundred deaths on both sides, and sent 300,000 refugees to Nigeria. There are more than 80,000 internally displaced persons in Cameroon.
The separatist fighters are known to dig up trenches on the main road leading from Bamenda, the capital city of the Northwest Region, to many other villages and towns surrounding it, mainly in a bid to prevent military transport and soldiers from reaching their hideouts.
On May 30, 2017, Bishop Jean Marie Benoît Bala of Bafia, Cameroon disappeared from his residence. His body was recovered in a river two days later, although an autopsy determined he had not drowned.
Cameroon’s bishops’ conference maintains the bishop was murdered and accuses the government of failing to investigate the crime. His death is not believed to be related to the country’s military conflict.
A senior Cameroon military officer has revealed that the Ambazonian Restoration Forces are not losing in the Southern Cameroons war and that the Unity Palace needs a new occupant to bring peace to the divided nation. Speaking on Monday to our undercover reporter in Yaoundé, the military baron who hails from the Far North region and whose name we are withholding noted that relatively speaking nothing changed ever since troops were deployed to crush the Anglophone uprising.
Citing former French President Jacques Chirac, the top military officer said “No one ever wins a war and I can sincerely tell you that there is no military solution to the crisis in Anglophone Cameroon.”
“The Head of State should engage the leadership of the Anglophones in the Diaspora and convince them that it was time to come to the negotiation table,” he added. Without going into some military details, the French Cameroun soldier further pointed out that Biya is currently making the path to reconcile the nation rockier. “I believe and fervently too that the key to solving the crisis in Anglophone Cameroon is to bring in the United States government to incentivize the Ambazonian Interim government to negotiate.” He said.
The Francophone army commander said the Abuja action against the Anglophone leadership was a costly mistake and a diplomatic blunder that has made reconciliation between Francophones and Anglophones too far-fetched. He claimed that a majority of Francophone political elites sees no military solution to the Anglophone crisis.
Cameroon Intelligence Report gathered that Defense Minister Joseph Beti Assomo has placed a ban on media houses shedding fresh light on Cameroon military’s failure to contain the Ambazonian Liberation Forces and stabilize the territory. There are fears that with presidential elections just three months away in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, separatist fighters may gain strength as the Biya regime in Yaounde struggles to monitor not only Southern Cameroonians but also the Bamilekes who are reportedly behind Prof Maurice Kamto.
We understand that the Southern Cameroons Interim Government decreed a county-by-county policing of the Ambazonian territory and this has cemented the position of fighters under the Ambazonia Security Council (ASC) who are now taking control over larger chunks of the rural areas while the Biya government had seen its control shrink. The Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) has failed to secure Southern Cameroons and have also suffered a high number of casualties in their battle against the Ambazonia Restoration Forces.
13-year-old Ching Randy was seeking refuge in the bush in Bafia around Muyuka in Fako Division of Cameroon’s South West Region when he was shot by soldiers.
« The boy could barely survive because he was shot with live bullets in the head » a source revealed to Mimi Mefo info.
His family immediately laid him to rest in the bushes yesterday Wednesday, October 17, 2018, for fear of being targeted by soldiers who are in the area for surveillance.
Ching Randy was a student of Government Bilingual High School GBHS Muyuka.
The education of many youths in Muyuka and the entire North West and South West Regions of Cameroon have been interrupted since the anglophone crisis escalated in 2016.
Muyuka is now a no-go-area as the military continues to battle with pro-independence fighters.
The town, like neighboring Ekona has remained deserted for months now.