21, April 2017
President Paul Biya has ordered the restoration of internet services to the crisis-hit North West and South West regions in a move widely seen as a step towards unlocking the Anglophone crisis deadlock.
The presidential instructions given on Thursday April 20, 2017 come 93 days after the regions were deprived of what the U.N. calls an important tool for development, communication and collective development. The government ordered the disconnection of internet services to the region in January protests by the minority English speakers over alleged marginalisation by majority French speaking Yaounde regime.
Besides the internet freeze, the government arrested leaders of the now outlawed Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC) which has been coordinating the teachers and lawyers’ strike that spiraled into violence. CACSC president, Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla and secretary-general, Dr Fontem Neba as well as Mancho Bibixy are now facing a death sentence at the Yaounde military court on charges of terrorism.
About 100 other detainees including opposition political leaders and journalists arrested in relation to the crisis are yet to be charged. The government has been under heavy pressure from the national and international community to restore the internet and release all detainees of the crisis for dialogue to take its course. During a four-day official visit to the country recently, the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Central Africa, François Louncény Fall urged government to restore the internet and release all detainees of the crisis.
The U.N envoy told a press conference in Yaounde last week that he had “fruitful and hopeful” exchanges with all the stakeholders in the crisis. He said he met with Government officials, members of civil society, opposition leaders, members of the diplomatic corps and the UN system as well as people arrested and detained in connection with the situation in the North West and South West, including Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla and radio broadcaster Mancho Bibixy. Like the restoration of the internet, observers say President Biya could also order the release of all detainees of the crisis in the coming days.
Source: Cameroun Info.Net