he West Cameroon Association (WCA) strongly denounces the pretentious humanitarian initiative of the regime of President Paul Biya of Cameroon, intended to alleviate the suffering of displaced Anglophones in Cameroon.
On 30thNovember2017,in response to those he thought were responsible for the death of 6 security personnel, President Paul Biya declared on national TV that ‘all steps are being taken to incapacitate these criminals and to make sure that peace and security are safeguarded over the whole extent of national territory’. Since that declaration was made, disproportionate and indiscriminate military acts of blatant aggression have been exacted against Anglophone civilians who have been referred to as ‘secessionists terrorist’ by Cameroon’s interior minister, Mr Paul Atanga Nji, in a desperate and reprehensible attempt to justify those acts. It is these acts by the Cameroon military that have directly resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Anglophones, both internally and externally into neighboring Nigeria as refugees.
With its typical attitude of avoiding all responsibility for its actions, the regime in Yaoundé conveniently omits the mention of these crimes that it has perpetrated, as well as the shutting down of the internet for much of 2017, the burning down of business infrastructure such as Mamfe and Bamenda markets. Many videos have surfaced on social media showing Cameroon military officials burning villages and torturing Anglophones including young Anglophone girls being forced to swim in mud at taunts from soldiers. Many independent international organizations have alerted that this is genocide and crimes against humanity which officials of the Cameroonian regime are attempting to hide and obfuscate from the International Community. This makes the regime of President Paul Biya wholly unfit to provide protection or humanitarian assistance for Anglophones.
The table below shows the currently known list of the villages that have been burnt down by the Cameroon military at the instruction of Mr Biya as he rules the country by decree and ‘high instructions’ –“hâutes instructions”. In some cases, disabled and elderly victims of these arson attacks have been burnt alive in their homes. These atrocities have been highlighted in a recent BBC investigative report titled ‘Burning Cameroon: Images you’re not meant to see’: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-44561929
WCA condemns these callous,insincere and unserious proposals of humanitarian assistance as it portrays no intention of the Biya regime to address the root cause of the Anglophone crisis- an illegal annexation of the State of West Cameroon and an attempted assimilation of its people. Meanwhile, the regime defiantly continues to ignore the numerous calls from the international community to resolve the crisis by way of an all-inclusive dialogue without preconditions.
The WCA would like to draw to the attention of the Biya regime and its allies, that no humanitarian effort can take place when the security and safety of the Anglophone people remains in peril, as the violence continues and intensifies. This initiative to rebuild and give humanitarian assistance to a people displaced by the very same regime, is at best a window-dressing exercise. Indeed, the announced financial package which amounts to less than $40 per refugee, is a solution to nothing and worse than that, any funds provided by the international community through the government of Cameroon will not reach the refugees because of rampant endemic corruption.
The WCA has reason to believe that the Biya regime has neither the capacity, goodwill, nor the ability to deliver any effective humanitarian intervention in the prevailing situation whereits security forces continue to burn down villages. The Biya regime cannot be the arsonist and the firefighter.
The WCA calls for the following actions to be immediately taken to stem the crisis and prevent a catastrophic destabilization of the gulf of guinea which could culminate in massive loss of lives.
Calls on the government of Cameroon to publicly and unilaterally declare a cease-fire and announce its road map towards lasting peace.
Calls for targeted sanctions against key members of the regime including but not limited to travel bans and freezing of assets on the personalities in the web of command responsible for the atrocities such as Oum II Joseph (SDO of Manyu Division), Bernard Okalia Bilai(Governor of SW Region), Adolf Lele L’Afrique(Governor of NW Region),Joseph Beti Assomo(Defense Minister), Laurent Esso(Justice Minister), Paul Atanga Nji(Interior Minister)- right up to the President, Mr. Paul Biya.
Proposes that a neutral international party be allowed into the Anglophone regions to provide protection to the Anglophones and drive any humanitarian effort so that they do not feel the need to pick up arms to defend their communities against these atrocities from the regime of Mr. Biya in Cameroon.
Calls on the international community to appoint a third party to begin talks and mediation towards a negotiated settlement of the Anglophone Crisis.
WCA continues to advocate for the territorial integrity of the nation of Cameroon as sanctioned by the UN mandates of 1961 and calls for the re-instatement of the Federal State of West Cameroon in a two-state solution of a Federal Republic that guarantees the respective heritages and peaceful coexistence of the two peoples, united in their diversity and working to build a nation that will join the family of civilised nations.
Mr S Ndah-Mbi
On behalf of the Secretariat