Almost all crisis have an identical path: First, there is a situation of injustice. A group gets disgruntled. Mutual trust is lost. Dialogue fails. An armed conflict follows. Atrocities are committed. The International community intervenes. Dialogue resumes. Some form of agreement is reached. The crisis between La Republique du Cameroon and Southern Cameroons is following this path. It is gradually becoming crystal clear that the crisis is at the stage where dialogue fails. With an armed conflict being the next inevitable stage, while supporters of dialogue hang on to last efforts, preparations for the next stage of the journey are gathering momentum in what I would like to call “Symptoms of War.”
1. The resolve of the two parties: This is usually the first symptom of war visible within the ranks of each camp in the crisis. La Republique is determined to crush the uprising by all means possible in what they refer to as “l’ordre régnera par tous les moyens.” A repressive slogan, which translates, “Order will reign by all means.” “Le Cameroun est un et indivisible.” “Meaning, Cameroon is one and indivisible.” On the other hand fighters for the freedom of Southern Cameroons stick with their own slogans such as: “We are two distinct countries.” “Southern Cameroons must be free.” There is very little room for dialogue in such opposing slogans. An armed conflict is almost inevitable.
2. An upcoming date is at stake: Conflicts usually escalate on a given date or deadline which is usually of symbolic importance to one or both parties in the conflict. In the case of this conflict, that date is October 1st which is the legitimate date of the independence of Southern Cameroons from the United Nations. While La Republique du Cameroun tries to illegalize the celebration of this date, Southern Cameroonians try to ensure the survival of the historical significance of the date. So there has to be an armed conflict.
3. So much has been put in that turning back is no longer an option: There is a time in business when you put in so much that the only option you want is to see things through. Such is the case of the current crisis between La Republique du Cameroun and Southern Cameroons. Both camps have invested so much in time, money, efforts, materials and human resources that giving up is the last thing to think about. If war is the way forward, so be it.
4. Media credibility loss and warfare: Many wars fought on the ground started long ago on the media. Unbiased media reports are very rare during conflicts. Show me a report and I will tell you which side that media belongs to. Such is the case right now regarding the conflict between La Republique du Cameroun and Southern Cameroons. While the CRTV leads a group of media that propagates La Republique du Cameroun as the good side and Southern Cameroons as the bad side, SCBC TV leads the opposing group of media that shows Southern Cameroons as the good side with the right cause and La Republique du Cameroun as the bad side. This divide is seen even in renowned international media. This is the moment you know all hopes for dialogue have been lost since it is hard to
trust any thing dished out to you by any media. The truth we usually get from the media can now be found only on the battlefield it seems.
5. The duplicity of the church: Like the media discussed above, another symptom of war in a given area is when the church starts double-dealing or becoming biased. The duplicity of the church so far has been discrediting the high esteem the masses have for the almighty, whom they consider to be their savior. The masses are losing faith seeing the church working hand in gloves with their oppressors. On the other hand, those who hold power in both camps of the conflict are threatening to judge and punish any church leaders who don’t preach their agenda. When that trust in the church is lost, the path to war gets smoother.
6. The lukewarm attitude of the international community: The biggest paradoxical practice by the international community is “cure is better than prevention.” Yes, the opposite of what we usually say. International organizations like The United Nations, The African Union, The European Union, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, etc. during an escalating conflict like this one do no more than write reports and make random declarations on the media. The recurrent sentence I hate the most is “We are following the situation very closely…” This is the equivalent of “I am following you very closely as you inch towards doom.” Sadly, that’s what the international community does when a region of the world is about to catch the killer disease of war. Their cure comes in when full war is engaged, lives of innocent citizens are lost, starvation and famine set in, genocide breaks out, epidemics break out, etc. So since serious intervention only comes after atrocities are committed, conflicts quickly go down that path to get the intervention they badly need. La Republique du Cameroun and Southern Cameroons look set to head down that path since the conflict has been there for five decades and received nothing but lukewarm reactions from the international community.
7. The mobilization of armed forces: It is usually one of the last symptoms before the war breaks out. Both sides begin to mobilize forces and position arsenals. La Republique has deployed elite combat soldiers from the rapid intervention division of its armed forces. They are currently beefing their arsenals. The Ambazonia Defense Council of Southern Cameroons through a communiqué dated September 9th 2017 has declared war and readiness to fight back against the forces of La Repubique du Cameroun. Hence, the battle line has been drawn. It is only a matter of time and strategy before the first alarum. The above illustrate how close two regions in a world so full of preachers of peace and truth are so close to self-destruction because of lies, greed, hypocrisy, double-dealing and international relations based on nothing but self-interest. A few months or years down this path we are set to follow, we will all pretend to be sorry and weep more than the bereaved.