Battle for Ambazonia: Arsonists Visit SDF Chairman Ni Fru Ndi 0

The home of the chairman of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) in Bamenda was last night attacked by arsonists. Mr. Fru Ndi has, for a long time now, been a victim of threats from unknown persons who accuse him of playing ball with the Yaounde government.

The fire, which started around the kitchen area of Mr. Fru Ndi’s home in Bamenda, was swiftly put out by firefighters with the help of neighbors.

Over the last week, threats against the SDF Chairman have increased. He is also being accused of complicity with the ruling CPDM by accepting to hold his party’s congress at the Bamenda Congress Hall.

Opponents and adversaries of the chairman indicate that by accepting to hold the SDF congress in a hall offered by the ruling party (CPDM), Mr. Fru Ndi was leading his party into an unholy political marriage with the ruling party which is widely considered as a crime syndicate in Cameroon.

Similarly, Anglophone separatists operating in Southern Cameroons had also threatened to disrupt the SDF Congress following criticisms by the SDF Chairman of the Southern Cameroons struggle for independence.

It was alleged that Mr. Fru Ndi had called the President of the Republic of Ambazonia, Julius Ayuk Tabe, and his government that had been arrested in Nigeria on January 5, 2018, and illegally extradited to Cameroon in late January terrorists.

Mr. Fru Ndi’s comments had angered many Southern Cameroonians who think a complete restoration of independence to the former British trust territory will be the only way for English-speaking Cameroonians to escape the marginalization they have experienced for 56 years.

The Southern Cameroons armed groups which have been carrying out retaliatory attacks on soldiers and  kidnapping senior administrative officers in the region, have always held that they must punish Mr. Fru Ndi whom they accuse of having political intercourse with the Yaoundé government.

To ensure that the congress actually took place as scheduled, the Yaounde government provided top security to Mr. Fru Ndi, a situation that further fueled rumor that he was collaborating with Mr. Biya. Even the location of the event was heavily guarded, as the armed groups were determined to wreak havoc.

Similarly, due to threats, the SDF congress location had been changed as the owners of the first location were scared that their property could be burnt down or destroyed.

It should be recalled that the SDF had on many occasions tried to bring the Southern Cameroons crisis to the floor of the National Assembly, but was repeatedly blocked by the ruling party whose Members of Parliament have never seen anything wrong with the way their government has handled the crisis which has become today a civil war wherein more than 300 army soldiers have been killed and over 500 civilians have been murdered by the Cameroonian army.

The army has also rendered many people in the southwest region homeless by burning their homes as a retaliation against the population each time it is alleged that a soldier has been killed.

In the South West region, towns like Kwakwa have simply been erased from the map following the burning of the entire town by army soldiers, and in Mbonge, the town has become a ghost town as many residents have simply fled following the killing of a gendarme officer in January.

In Kembong, in Manyu Division where many gendarme officers have been sent to an early grave, many young men have fled the town, with a majority now seeking refuge in Ossing, a small city some 15 km from the Manyu Divisional headquarters of Mamfe.

The violence in the English-speaking regions has escalated over the last two months and armed groups operating in the region have made their impact felt. They have been issuing threats and many analysts have been advising that their threat should be taken seriously.

It should be recalled that in mid-February, the Batibo Divisional Officer was kidnapped and taken into a thick forest and attempts by government officials to locate him have been futile. Not even his body has been located even when there was rumor that he had been killed.

For now, it is believed that he is being held by Anglophone separatists who are seeking to restore their independence from the Republic of Cameroon. A few days after the disappearance of the Divisional Officer, the Social Affairs delegate was also kidnapped and his is living rough and wild just like the divisional officer.

It is worth mentioning that the SDF is in favor of a federal system in Cameroon and the party chairman and its presidential candidate for the upcoming presidential election, Joshua Osih, have thrown their support behind a federal system that will empower the people and make them masters of their own destiny.

It should also be noted that the SDF has always chided the government for mismanaging the Anglophone problem that has unfortunately metamorphosed into a crisis that has resulted in hundreds of deaths.

It should be recalled that Mr. Tchiroma, Laurent Esso and Fame Ndongo, are the ministers who have caused the Southern Cameroons crisis to escalate. Today, it has gotten to levels that are almost impossible to address as Southern Cameroons separatists are determined to restore their independence.

Meanwhile, it is being reported that Cameroon’s minister of communication, Issa Tchiroma, will very likely be arrested soon following his role in the mismanagement and misappropriation of state funds.

The government spokesperson, who has been a mouthpiece for Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, is facing a long jail term as his name has appeared among those who are being accused of embezzling funds and misusing fuel coupons at the Cameroon Radio and Television Corporation (CRTV).

Mr. Tchiroma has been singing the president’s praises for years in the pious belief that he will not be brought to book in case he finds himself in dire legal straits. But as the trial of former CRTV General Manager, Amadou Vamoulke, drags on, more suspects are being roped in. Mr. Vamoulke has decided that he will not go down alone. He has therefore provided a long list of people who willingly participated in the looting of state funds at the CRTV.

Early this week, some seven CRTV staff were dragged to the Yaounde maximum security prison where they are expected to answer for their role in the misappropriation of CRTV funds and misuse of fuel coupons in the coming months. Mr. Tchiroma’s name has popped up and this has left the government spokesman with lots of butterflies in his stomach.

It is alleged that most of the fuel coupons were issued to friends and girlfriends of CRTV staff. It is also alleged that Mr. Tchiroma handed a huge chunk of these coupons to his harem of women who have done a good job of misusing them.

It should be noted that as the country’s minister of communications, Mr. Tchiroma is the CRTV Board chairman and he surely has a few questions to answer about the missing money and millions of dollars in fuel coupons alleged to be misused.

The 70-year-old Tchiroma has once spent 8 years in jail for his role in the April 1984 coup d’état that almost toppled Mr. Biya. But the news that he will soon be back in the dock and possibly back to jail has triggered an illness that may result in Mr. Tchiroma’ s evacuation abroad for medical treatment.

While arrangements for his evacuation are under way, the government is making sure that Mr. Tchiroma does not flee while on medical evacuation like the former Minister of Agriculture who is currently living in the Washington DC area after pretending that he was dying of an unknown ailment. He used his medical evacuation to escape the grip of the “lion-man” who was determined to hand him a long jail term for embezzlement.

By Kingsley Betek and Fosuh Tamajung in Bamenda