he West Cameroon Association (WCA) responds to the United States Ambassador to La République du Cameroun (LRC), following his Statement on the crisis in Cameroon’s English-speaking SW/NW Regions in which he accused some Cameroonians living in the USA of ‘fuelling the violence’.
The West Cameroon Association (WCA) responds to the United States Ambassador to La République du Cameroun (LRC), following his Statement on the crisis in Cameroon’s English-speaking SW/NW Regions in which he accused some Cameroonians living in the USA of ‘fuelling the violence’.
The WCA was extremely disappointed to read the widely-reported comments by the US Ambassador to Cameroon, His Excellency Peter Henry Barlerin, on the occasion of the handing over of two advanced military aircraft donated by the United States to LRC dictator, Paul Biya, supposedly for use in helping fight Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin and ‘other crisis’. It is very likely that these military assets will also be deployed by the LRC regime of President Paul Biya against the Anglophones, whom he has misleadingly described as ‘secessionist terrorists’ in the dangerously escalating crisis in the English Speaking regions of Cameroon. This is an extremely unfortunate and distressing development, as the brutal regime could feel somewhat justified, following the rather unhelpful remarks from the US Ambassador accusing some Cameroonians residing in the USA of fuelling the violence that has mainly been perpetrated by LRC’s military.
The WCA strongly condemns hate speech of any kind from all sides of the conflict. However, given the fact that this crisis has been single-handedly started and then escalated by Cameroon’s President Paul Biya to its current level, it is alarming that the US Ambassador failed to mention the rampant gross human rights abuses, brutal killings, widespread scorching of entire Anglophone villages, (sometimes with disabled elderly civilians inside their own homes), and the displacement of tens of thousands of civilians, both within the country and across the border with Nigeria.
The uprising in West Cameroon has at its root, the illegal annexation of West Cameroon, (the former British Southern Cameroons), by the France-backed LRC. West Cameroon was a state whose independence was approved by UN resolution 1608, in which the USA and 63 other member countries voted to grant its independence. That vote enabled the then British trust territory of Southern Cameroons (following a plebiscite in 1961) to transition to the Federated State of West Cameroon as part of the Federal Republic of Cameroon.
The current escalation we see today, was predicted and warned against by The WCA more than 16 months ago. Additionally, The WCA would like to draw Ambassador Barlerin’s attention to a report produced by the US embassy in 1986 (CIA-RDP86T01017R000707040001-2.pdf, www.cia.gov) to the CIA Director of Intelligence, predicting this crisis, in the event that the Biya regime continued its plans of assimilating the linguistic and cultural identity of English-speaking Cameroonians. We expect that the Ambassador would have been appropriately briefed on these matters. As is now apparent, The government of LRC, in that time, has consistently failed to act to resolve the crisis by refusing to consider and implement proposed durable solutions. Instead, the regime has embarked on a policy of increased escalation in violence and brutal repression that has culminated in the situation that is prevailing today. We fear that things could deteriorate further unless the fundamental issues are addressed with the urgency that the situation calls for.
WCA would further like to draw Ambassador Barlerin’s attention to Amnesty International’s 2017/2018 Report on Human Rights In Cameroon, https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/africa/cameroon/report-cameroon/ which highlights the troubling nature of the state of affairs in Cameroon.
2. Systemic burning down of villages, businesses and in some cases, elderly and disabled people being burnt alive, as they could not escape the scorched earth attacks from LRC forces. Some of the images of these arson attacks have been captured on video and raised at the daily UN Press briefings. Astonishingly, they were derided by the UN Press briefing officer!.
3. Systematic, deliberate and indiscriminate extra-judiciary killing of unarmed civilians, who are sometimes pulled out of their houses and summarily executed in cold blood by the security forces of LRC. Credible evidence of these acts of barbarism have been captured on video and is available to the public and circulating on social media.
4. Massive internal displacement of Anglophone civilians, some hiding in forests and bushes, and a swelling in the numbers of refugees to South Eastern Nigeria, currently estimated by the UNHCR to have now exceeded 60,000 (sixty thousand).
In spite of repeated calls from the international community for genuine and inclusive dialogue without preconditions to resolve the root causes of the Anglophone crisis, a call which the US Ambassador himself, as well as the UK House of Parliament, again echoed, the repressive regime of President Paul Biya has chosen to ignore the voices of reason and instead, intensified the violence on the civilian populations in West Cameroon with reports of the use of military aircraft against unarmed desperately fleeing civilians.
WCA would like to call on the US government to exert its influence on the Biya regime, to immediately cease the violence and commence genuine all-inclusive negotiations for a lasting solution to reverse the illegal annexation of the Federated State of West Cameroon – A flagrant breach of UN resolution 1608.
WCA advocates for the territorial integrity of the nation of Cameroon as sanctioned by the UN mandate 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