Southern Cameroons Crisis: Day of shame in Mbonge as over 20 civilians are killed by government forces 0

In what has been described as Southern Cameroons day of shame, Cameroon government troops deployed to Mbonge-a sub constituency in Meme Division have shot and killed at least 20 civilians including women and children.

Witnesses said the Francophone soldiers raided the area and spoke to the population in the French language making sure that those who responded were allowed to move out of Mbonge and those who could only reply in pidgin English were summarily executed.

Mbonge, the chief town in the Sub Division has been a hotbed of the Southern Cameroons resistance.

The Francophone army soldiers reportedly opened fire on the English speaking civilians who had returned from their daily routine including a child playing football.

There were also deaths reported around the Palace of the local traditional leader.

The government of Cameroon has no pity for anybody. The death of children and pregnant women during this fighting does not arouse any pity in government officials. The Biya Francophone regime has one objective – proving that it can win a war – and the generals leading the troops clearly hold that the insurgency is an opportunity for them to enrich themselves.

In an audio message aired by a Francophone soldier, a commander is heard instructing Cameroon government troops to shot in the head or back during the Mbonge raids.

The Vice President of the Southern Cameroons Interim Government, Dabney Yerima said it was “a Southern Cameroons day of shame for the French Cameroun armed forces.”

The roasting of vulnerable people is also nothing new during this conflict that has already sent more than 7,000 English speaking Cameroonians to an early grave. 

Kwakwa and Ngarbuh are still fresh in many minds. In Kwakwa, an old woman and a sick old man were roasted alive by army soldiers who are supposed to protect innocent civilians.

In Ngarbuh, government troops gunned down scores of people and set homes ablaze, leaving many calcinated in their homes. These were young children and pregnant women who had nothing to do with the insurgency that has been playing out in the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon for over four years.

The government clearly holds that burning the homes of the poor and innocent people will cause the population to discontinue its support to the insurgents even when it has not been really proven that the population is supporting the fighters.

From every indication, it is also clear that the population has been caught between the devil and deep blue sea. The same population is being threatened by the Southern Cameroonian fighters when the fighters feel that they have been betrayed by somebody. The population is confused and does not know who to turn to.

At the heart of the crisis, which started in 2016, was a strike by teachers and lawyers, in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon. The professionals, supported by citizens of their areas, protested the unfair use of the French language and unjustified appointments of French speakers in their territories. Cameroon has been passing for a bilingual country. By 2017, the situation had spiralled out of control and developed into a fully-fledged separatist war. Both government forces and separatists are now bogged down in a conflict that observers say, can only be resolved through dialogue.

The international community has repeatedly called for genuine and inclusive dialogue but the Biya regime remains intransigent in the face of global outcry.

By Soter Tarh Agbaw-Ebai with files