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Editorial

January 17 2017 – January 17 2018: 1 Year After Southern Cameroons’ Crisis Experienced Paradigm Shift

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On that famous Tuesday January 1 2017, denizens from the Southern and Northern Zones of Southern Cameroons, had intensified ghost towns across all counties.

The people had risen to the high call for ‘Mami-water’ ghost town, after Paul Ghogomu Mingo, Head of the Camerounese delegation negotiating with the Consortium leaders, had earlier on announced over the media that no further negotiations will be carried out again.

That declaration resonated anger in the minds of Southern Cameroonians who besiege school premises, sending children away from school, mounted road blocks across major highways, and intimidated defaulting business premises. Everyone residing in Southern Cameroons must respect the two days ghost towns.

By 3:00pm that fateful Tuesday, the two zones of Southern Cameroons were indeed in a ghost era. Children played football on the highway as not even a single vehicle was spotted on the road. Security forces deployed by colonial regime could only plead with the population to restrain from destroying properties; they could not do anything more than that.

That 5:00pm Breaking News!!!

Document, banning Consortium, SCNC

It was a very cool temperate evening when Camerounese state broadcaster during its 5:00pm (17h:00) announced (in breaking news) that the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CASCC aka the Consortium) and Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) have been disbanded.

According to the news presenter, the Ministry of Administration and Territorial Integration (MINADT), is ordering the cease-from-existence of the said groups. The reasons attributed to the banning were that, the two groups are fuelling hate and terrorist tendencies in Southern Cameroons.

Rene Emmanuel Sadi, Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, who issued the ban yesterday, noted that SCNC and the Consortium “are declared null and void for their purpose and activities which are contrary to the Constitution and liable to jeopardize the security of the state, territorial integrity, national unity and national integration.”

The ministerial order also proscribes meetings and demonstrations initiated or promoted by the outfits across the national territory.

Everyone was talking about the breaking news. Social Media was at its highest peak as messages trooped here and there regarding the said decision.

The Arrests

Though it was a bitter pill to swallow, and another salt added to the injury of the already aggrieved Southern Cameroons population, the long Tuesday night was just beginning. As Southern Cameroons WhatsApp, Twitted, Facebook, and did all of those Social Media hypes about news of the disbanded consortium, things went from bad to worst.

At 6:30pm, news broke out that Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla, Leader of the Consortium, alongside, Dr. Fontem Neba, Secretary General of the Consortium, have both been arrested. The news spread like wildfire with all fingers pointing at the Gendarmerie Militaire d’Intervention (GMI) unit at Long Street Buea, being the destination were the leaders had been taken to.

Sooner than later, the population had thronged the GMI premises, demanding the immediate release of their leaders. Some bouncer from the crowd struggled to raise the fence of GMI down if their leaders were not released. It was at that juncture that all of a sudden, two to three trucks of water cannons, trooped into the area, indiscriminately flushing scratching water on the population. Simultaneously, gunshots where animating the skies, as way of intimidating the population to leave the premises.

People ran away for their dear lives. Some wounding themselves, others losing valuable properties, and many others, stranded in bushes. This reporter lost his pair of sandals, phones, wallet, and sustained brutal cuts in his thigh, and elbows.

The Internet Shutdown

The long night witnessed a twilight at 8:45pm, when the government of La Republique du Cameroun (LRC), ordered shutdown internet in Southern Cameroons. It was so unprecedented. No one had seen it coming. Though it had been long speculated, many saw it a far-fetched dream.

This reported called one of the internet providers, MTN. He was made to understand that internet had not been cut per se. According to the lady who responded from the MTN booth, it was just a network congestion and her company is working hard to get everything under control.

That thieving impression was dished out to many a curious population, who went investigating what must have happened. Finally, everyone, came to the conclusion that internet had been seized in Southern Cameroons.

The Paradigm Shift

Prior to the internet blackout in Southern Cameroons, the leaders of the disbanded Consortium, had issued out a Press Release, transferring control of the institution from Cameroon to Abroad. According to the release signed by Barrister Agbor Balla, and his executive, the Consortium will be led from abroad. It will be manned by Mark Bareta (CEO BaretaNews and Rights Activist), and Tapang Ivo (Journalist and Rights Activist).

The duo in their first outing, called for a weeklong ghost town across Southern Cameroons. They indicated, the initiative was to pressure LRC to release the Consortium leader.

From thence, things have moved on from a simple socio-professional demands from the Consortium, to a clarion call for outright separation from LRC.

The activities that unfolded after the famous January 17 2017 date, gave birth to the Federal Republic of Ambazonia.

By Lucas Muma,

Managing Editor – BaretaNews

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