Biya regime told to accept Canada’s peace mediation offer 0

The Global Campaign for Peace and Justice in Cameroon has called on the African country’s government to accept the offer of mediation made last week by Canadian authorities with a view to a possible agreement with Anglophone separatists that would end a conflict that has left more than 6,000 people dead since 2017.

The current situation of the process is confusing, because the Canadian government presented itself as a mediator last Friday but days later the Cameroonian authorities rejected any involvement of Ottawa in negotiations with the separatists.

In this scenario, the NGO calls on the Government of Cameroon “to renew its commitment to the Canadian process” since “the killings, lawlessness, destruction and impunity prevailing in the conflict zones have only generated more violence and insecurity”.

“In this regard, the solidarity of the government of Cameroon with the Canadian process is vital,” the group added in a statement posted on its website.

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly did not exactly comment on the Cameroonian government’s refusal but assured that the warring parties have already held three meetings in Ontario and Quebec. “The Cameroonian government approached us and we also invited a UN representative present during the mediation,” the minister assured on Tuesday.

Cameroon’s Anglophone regions–Northwest and Southwest–have been rocked by conflict following the crackdown on separatist movements after Ambazonia’s self-proclamation of independence on October 1, 2017.

The previous year, this area–once part of British colonies in Africa but which decided to join French Cameroon–was the scene of peaceful protests to demand greater autonomy or independence arguing discrimination by central authorities, also on language issues.

Since then, armed groups have proliferated and support for the separatists, hitherto rather marginal, has increased. The government has responded with a harsh crackdown, during which human rights organizations have accused the security forces of committing atrocities.