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May, Macron Mount Fresh Pressure On Yaounde Amid Violence Escalation In Southern Cameroons

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The British and French government are mounting increasing pressure on La Republique du Cameroun (LRC) to initiate a frank, sincere, comprehensive and inclusive dialogue amid the escalation of the Southern Cameroons crisis. Leaked cabled reports say the British and French government are worried over the sporadic attacks meted on unarmed civilians and the military, and fear the crisis could turn into a full blown civil war.

According to a leaked classified cable reports published by a whistle-blowing site, Wikileaks, the British Prime

British PM, Theresa May, on Southern Cameroons crisis

Minister (PM), Theresa May, is mounting massive pressure on President Paul Biya of LRC to initiate the dialogue process that all world leaders have been talking about. Theresa May affirmed the fact that Southern Cameroons have a genuine preoccupation and it would be only through an inclusive and pacific dialogue that such concerns can be addressed. The British PM indicated that such dialogue will take place in the presence of UK as well as Common Wealth authorities.

For his part, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, on several telephone conversations and in different physical meetings in Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire) and Paris (France), told Paul Biya that France is deeply concern with the spiral attacks and killings going on in Southern Cameroons. He urged Paul Biya to desist from applying too much military force on civilians as it only radicalises the others. President Macron reiterated the need for the dialogue process between the government of LRC and that of Southern Cameroons to be initiated. Like May, he indicated that authorities from the French government as well as those of la Francophonie will be present on the dialogue table.

French President, Emmanuel Macron, mounting pressure on LRC

Besides the French and British governments, who were hitherto, colonial masters of the two Cameroons, many other world leaders have raised serious concerns over the spill over effects of the Southern Cameroons crisis. Recently, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Gutteres, raised concerns over the increasing number of Southern Cameroonians fleeing to Nigeria as refugees. He once again, called for dialogue to be open so concerns raised can be addressed.

The US president, Donald Trump, through his newly assigned ambassador to LRC, told Paul Biya that the United States is worried over the excessive use of force and killings in Southern Cameroons. His intervention was further compounded by the arrest of LRC born US Citizen, Patrice Nganang. Mounted pressure on the LRC government saw a case adjourned for January 19, 2018, be brought forward to December 26, 2017. The court hearing eventually saw Mr Nganyang released.

The Commonwealth dispatched its Secretary General, Baroness Patrician Scotland since both Nigeria and Cameroon are Commonwealth members. She spent four days in Yaounde and a day in Buea, attempting to bring about a “frank, sincere, comprehensive and inclusive dialogue”, but with little evidence of real progress.

In a statement, Baroness Scotland said that all the parties she met during her visit “appreciated the need for dialogue and expressed willingness to engage in it.”

She added: “Escalation over recent weeks brings deepened urgency, and it will demand of the government a positive step to facilitate an inclusive and structured dialogue leading to real decentralisation.”

The situation has left a particular mess in the laps of British and French diplomats, who no doubt would rather be spending the festive season with their families. Neither the Foreign Office nor the Quai d’Orsay can really afford for this to spill over into a wider regional crisis. Both would far rather encourage Nigeria and Cameroon to continue fighting Boko Haram. Apart from appealing for “restraint” the Foreign Office has had nothing to say about the issue. But this linguistic divide is a colonial legacy that has rumbled on for a century: neither can London nor Paris can wash their hands of this crisis.

By Lucas Muma,

Managing Editor – BaretaNews

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