Have Ambazonians finally risen to the task of self Defense?
The events of the last few days in the Southern Cameroons Counties of Manyu, Mezam and Bui have put La Republique’s administrative and colonial forces in panicked. They seem to be gradually encountering another faceless enemy, this time not in their own territory of La Republique du Cameroun, but in the foreign territory of Southern Cameroons which they have been occupying illegally for 56 years now.
The declaration of the Restoration of the Independence of Southern Cameroons/ Ambazonia by the Chairman of the then Southern Cameroons Governing Council, H.E Sissiku Julius Ayuk-Tabe was followed by a heavy massacre of peaceful Southern Cameroonians by the occupier forces of La Republique du Cameroon. Citizens had gone out in their thousands to celebrate their independence restoration and also call for an end to the illegal incarceration of some of their leaders in local and foreign detention centers by the colonial government in Yaounde. Whereas some were shot on the streets while singing, dancing and waving peace plants, others were simply pulled out of their homes and shot, while some were fired by stray bullets from a helicopter gunship while sleeping in their homes.
For two weeks, Southern Cameroons was in shock and consternation, with families burying their dead love ones and treating the wounded in the hospitals. Even the hospitals became unsafe as the colonial forces went round pulling wounded gunshot victims from hospital beds and taking them to unknown destinations. As we write, it is recorded that more than 200 Southern Cameroonians were killed, more than 150 missing and thousands wounded with some still in hospitals. Thousands are presently taking cover in the bushes and neighbouring country, Nigeria.
Do Southern Cameroonians have the right to defend themselves?
Southern Cameroons by international law is a nation with well defined internationally recognized boundaries, but still under occupation. Though the citizens have right to pick up arms and chase the occupier away, they have for one year running decided to apply the most civilized weapon of the 21st century, nonviolent civil disobedience. Despite the heavy crack down they have encountered from the colonial forces, the people have restrained themselves from confrontations, even though they have the internationally recognized right to self-defense. They have consistently called for a frank dialogue with the occupier, with support to these calls from all relevant local and international agencies. All these have fallen on deaf ears as the colonial government says it is not ready to grant any form of autonomy – whether internal or external to the 56 years enslaved people.
From the gorilla attacks on the colonial forces in Mamfe, Bamenda and Jakiri in the past days, and the utterances from the self-defense wing of the revolutionary movement, it would appear Ambazonian young men have decided that it is sweet and worthy to die trying to put up self-defense against the brutal colonial forces, than lay quietly in your father’s house and still be killed or dismembered by stray bullets being sprayed on peaceful citizens. The unidentified men, which the AGC leader, Dr. Ayaba Cho has claimed over SkyNews and Reuters are his men acting in self-defense, seem to mean business, as they have succeeded to disarm colonial forces and take away their riffles. These are indications that the days ahead are pregnant and colonial agents are becoming increasingly unsafe in Southern Cameroons/Ambazonia.
What is the way forward?
The colonial government in Yaounde must avoid fighting an asymmetrical war on many fronts. It is a war where you don’t know who is the enemy. I could be the enemy, my grand mother could be the enemy and even my revolutionary minded kid could be the enemy. In fact, every angry Ambazonian is a potential enemy. But how will the colonial forces know the angry masses?
The should have realised by now that Southern Cameroonians, especially the youth are all filled with rage from the carnage of September, 22 and October 1st and have since then been calling on the revolutionary leadership to empower them put up self-defense, which is their right as a nation under occupation. That should tell you that they have been pushed to the wall and they have no choice than to defend themselves and their love ones from the killer colonial forces.
Consequently, instead of the colonial forces to go around harassing citizens and looking for enemies they don’t know, it is time for the colonial government to heed the international call for a frank and inclusive dialogue and do the needful. They cannot govern a people without their consent and the colonial forces cannot arrest all Southern Cameroonians at ones. They cannot also afford to commit another genocide after that of October 1st by randomly killing innocent Ambazonians. The colonial government just need to bow to international pressure and do the right thing.
Southern Cameroons is not a territory of La Republique du Cameroon. It is another country all together. Its independence has been restored and any further military action by the colonial forces on peaceful citizens is an act of aggression. Why rain terror on peaceful citizens and at the end still ask for dialogue with them? Haven’t you learn a lesson from your public declaration of war on Boko Haram and its consequences on your economy today?
To the angry Southern Cameroons youths, you must exercise restraint. We are not however telling you not to defend yourself from those who have brought and continue to bring grieve and anguish to your families. You must ensure that the colonial forces don’t take advantage of your self-defense campaign to further inflict pain on innocent families in Ambazonia. If they could use a helicopter gunship to shoot and disperse peaceful protesting citizens, then they are capable of doing anything, even though they know very well that it is a war crime to kill innocent citizens, especially when they (the colonial forces) are fighting to continue the illegally occupation of another sovereign state.
To the international community, you had projected what is happening long ago and you must not sit and watch it escalate and you starts running helter skelter with relief materials. Colonialism is illegal and a serious crimes in this 21st century and must be stopped. For how long will you study this case to understand that its an act of colonialism before you intervene and sent out the annexationist government? The time is ticking and the future in pregnant.
By Agbor James, BaretaNews Political Analyst