31, January 2018
Cameroonian authorities have become more concerned about the political and military conflict in the country as it continues to spill out of the control. Rumors making the rounds for some time now that young Francophone fighters are swelling the ranks of Anglophone fighters in Ndian Division are being confirmed by some senior political authorities in Cameroon.
Last week a Cameroon Concord News reporter was reliably informed that foreign fighters and trainers had joined the fray and this was making matters worse. This was corroborated by our source at the Secretariat of the Social Democratic Front (SDF), the country’s leading opposition party.
It is now emerging that the issue is getting more complicated as thought. According to our source, Mr. Joshua Osih, the SDF presidential candidate in the upcoming 2018 presidential elections, has revealed that the ranks of the Southern Cameroonian fighters are being swelled by Francophones, many of whom are sick and tired of the way the country has been mismanaged over the last thirty-five years.
Our reporter on the ground in Ndian Division in the country’s southwest region reports that the Francophone fighters believe that the Southern Cameroons cause is a national cause and it is designed to stop the French-supported Yaounde government from taking the country hostage.
The fighters hold that elections alone will not be able to return the country to the path to decency as the Biya government is working tooth and nail to ensure the current system stays in place for a long time. They argue that the Biya regime has pauperized the people and transformed the entire nation into an Augean Stable where corruption has become the norm. They point to admissions into the National School of Administration and Magistracy where two of Mr. Biya’s children have been granted an undeserved admission into the school.
The fighters argue that after more than ten elections in the country, not much has change and change is not in the offing as the electoral code makes it hard to unseat the ruling CPDM widely known in Cameroon as a crime syndicate. The Francophone fighters have openly shown their admiration for Anglophones who have displayed great courage and determination for over a year and they believe that if Francophones joined the fray, the Biya regime would be dumped on the ash heap of history.
It should be recalled that for many months, there have been speculations that foreign fighters have been guiding and training young Southern Cameroonians, but the first serious confirmations only came when Mr. Joshua Osih had to meet with them while taking his father’s remains to his native Ndian Division.
Mr. Osih, a respected SDF parliamentarian had to walk miles into the jungle where the Ambazonian fighters were lurking to seek permission and passage rights to his native village so as to give his late father a decent burial. He almost came under attack when he finally reached where the Southern Cameroons fighters were lying in wait for any government troops that might be heading to Ndian Division. Luckily for him, he was recognized by some of the zealous fighters who considered him a responsible and respected son of the South West region of the country. He was subjected to serious questioning and was asked if government officials would be attending the event.
He said none had been scheduled to be present at event. He was let go when he handed a huge wad of cash to the fighters who informed him that they would be keeping an eye on the event to ensure government agents did not infiltrate the location. The fighters later accosted my Osih at his residence in his village when they noticed that some government officials had made their way to the event. Mr. Osih had to explain himself and expressed his sincere apology, adding that he had not invited them, but they had shown up on their own.
Our source adds that Mr. Osih had promptly informed the Senior Divisional Officer of his encounter with the fighters to preempt any controversy that might emerge later as to whether he was financing a rebellion in Southern Cameroons.
Our reporter in Ndian Division has also confirmed that some white South African mercenaries are already on the ground to help structure the Amba Tigers and other groups and to provide short intensive training on hit-and-run tactics so as to enable the Francophone fighters to carry the war to the Francophone region.
Meanwhile, Southern Cameroonians are still reeling from the blow their struggle took to the head. The news that Mr. Ayuk Tabe and his collaborators had been extradited to Cameroon had hit them like a ton of bricks. They are now being consoled by the fact that the matter will play out in court and the fact that Mr. Ayuk Tabe will not be killed like a little stray dog. Many now argue that the world has evolved and the days when people could disappear without a trace have past. The international community is aware of the drama playing out in Cameroon and it will surely keep an eye on how things unfold, many argue, adding that the international community may not have a huge appetite for secession, but it will surely not countenance the government of Cameroon in its efforts to transform the country into a slaughter house.
In Manyu Division where Mr. Ayuk Tabe hails, it is openly said that he might have been arrested, but the Southern Cameroonian struggle might not be stopped. From the perspective, this struggle is bigger than an individual. Many Southern Cameroonian leaders have been arrested before, but instead of dousing the fire, the fire has been burning out of control.
“The struggle is like a hydra. When you cut its head, it develops another one. We are sure more leaders will soon be announced and we are looking forward to taking our cue from them,” one zealous supporter of the Ambazonian struggle who elected anonymity said in Mamfe. He added that “let them not forget that when they arrested Felix Nkongho Agbor-Balla and co. they thought the neck of the struggle had been broken, but things moved from bad to worse.”
“The struggle is an idea and it is the people’s struggle. It has little or nothing to do with an individual. We are no longer scared of jails. I am sure their jails should be bursting at the seams, as many Southern Cameroonians are now occupying the few jails they have. The government must learn how to negotiate. It must learn how to dialogue sincerely. Let it look into the mirror of history and it will find out in countries such as Colombia that the rebels only downed the weapons after thirty years of fighting and this only happened through the negotiating table,” he added.
Southern Cameroonians are already regrouping. A new leadership is being put in place and this new leaders will soon be announced in the coming days. Why the extradition offers an opportunity for the “presumed terrorists” to be tried, it also offers an opportunity for negotiations that can help spare the country the disaster that is staring it in the face. The country’s leaders must therefore have to tamper their ways and look at how other countries have had to deal with similar situations in order to spare Cameroonians the agony and death that armed struggles bring to a people.
By Sama Ernest with files from Kingsley Betek and Rita Akana