25, October 2023
Southern Cameroons Self Defense Groups have once again warned the regime in Yaoundé and its great benefactor, President Biya of the inconceivable consequences of the continued military operations in Ground Zero.
In two separate audio messages aired by Amba commanders in both Manyu and Bui Divisions, the fighters were heard saying that the territory known as the Federal Republic of Ambazonia is now a powder keg and continued French Cameroun military activities will have consequences for Francophone army soldiers.
In a hasty move last week the European Union announced that it was currently discussing the terms and conditions of military support for the Cameroonian army. That aid should amount to around €10m the EU hinted.
The EU gesture has been described by the Ambazonia Interim Government (IG) as unwise. Vice President Dabney Yerima has been quoted as saying that the EU is now defending a regime that is killing civilians and burning hospitals and villages.
Yerima said French Cameroonians will be the ones to suffer if things spiral out of control in Southern Cameroons.
Seven years into a deadly separatist conflict in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions, hopes of finding a negotiated settlement seem more distant than ever as both the government and secessionist rebels dig in, according to civil society activists.
It’s a conflict marked by spikes of extreme violence that invariably target civilians. The latest high-profile incident was last month, when government soldiers killed nine people in Missong village, in the anglophone Northwest region.
Rights groups accuse both the security forces and secessionist fighters of serious abuses that include extrajudicial killings, rape, kidnapping, and torture.
The root of the conflict is the central government’s historical marginalisation of the two English-speaking regions, the Northwest and Southwest, home to about 20 percent of the population.
But the dynamics of the violence have changed with the growth of a lucrative “war economy”, typically involving kidnapping and the broader extortion of the civilian population. The political and economic spoils of the war have reduced the incentive to find a negotiated settlement.
By Toto Roland Motuba