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The Southern Cameroons Crisis :The Then And Now

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The Southern Cameroons crisis is an international problem that hinges on a flawed process of granting independence to the territory by the United Nations. For a very brief history, the Southern Cameroons was a UN mandated territory that was entrusted to Britain to administer after the defeat of Germany in the first world war. She was part of German Kamerun which like other German colonies was given to the victorious powers in the first world war. This is how German Kamerun was partitioned and entrusted to France and the UK to administer as mandated territories in preparation for eventual full independence. France effectively carried out her obligations under the mandate and granted her own part of German Kamerun independence on January 1st 1960.

That territory is today called the Republic of Cameroon. In 1961, instead of granting the Southern Cameroons independence as provided in Article 76 of the UN Charter, she was forced into a union with the already independent Cameroun. There does not exist a union treaty between the government of the Southern Cameroons as it were and the government of La Republique du Cameroun because the policies and terms of the union have never been agreed upon and declared as required in UN Resolution 1608 (5) of 21 April 1961. Despite the absence of this union, La Republique du Cameroun moved her military into Southern Cameroons on October 1, 1961, forced a federal constitution on the peoples of Southern Cameroons, modified the form of the territorial governance as it pleases, and has since then occupied the Southern Cameroons territory.

The citizens of the former UN Trust Territory of the Southern Cameroons have used all peaceful means to appeal for a solution to their plight without success. Instead, our people have always been met with violent repression from the Cameroun government. The following are some of the actions and measures that the people of Southern Cameroons have taken in the last several years with no positive reaction from the government of La Republique du Cameroun.

1. In 1993 the people of Southern Cameroons met in a general conference code-named “All Anglophones Conference” (AAC) and resolved that a return to the two state Federation as provided for in the initial Federal Constitution could resolve the problems of excessive socio-economic underdevelopment, systematic cultural annihilation, political underrepresentation, large scale marginalization, and rampant torture to which the people of Southern Cameroons were subjected by La Republique du Cameroun. The resolutions of that conference were sent to the Cameroun government.

2. In 1994 AAC reconvened for a second time and again reiterated their demand for a return to the two state Federation. In addition, they urged the government to act within a reasonable time failure to which they would seek external self-determination. As a follow up, the UN under whose trust the UK administered the territory until October 1st 1961 was informed. This reminder was also ignored by the Cameroun government.

3. In 1995, a delegation of political leaders from Southern Cameroons went to the UN to formally lay the complaints and to notify the UN of their intention to seek external self-determination

4. In frustration, a complaint was lodged with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. In 2009 the Commission in her decision endorsed by all African Governments Heads of States declared the people of Southern Cameroons “a people” with rights to self-determination, and strongly recommended among other things that the Yaoundé government engage in meaningful constitutional reforms that would satisfy the Southern Cameroons. To facilitate the process, the African Union offered her good services to help solve the problem. Even the appeal from the African Union was also ignored by the government of Cameroun.

5. In 2010 an official of the UN came to Cameroon on invitation by the government for the celebration of her purported 50th anniversary of the country’s unification. During that celebration, the UN High diplomat officially reminded the government of Cameroun with a symbolic two separate maps gift of the Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun, indicating the distinct nature of the territories and the non-existence of a union treaty between the two.

Despite all these recommendations, the government of Cameroun has embarked on a whole eradication of anything having to do with the people of Southern Cameroons. Frustrated with the deliberate massacre of their identity and people, including among other things government’s attempt to replace the common law system practiced by the people of Southern Cameroons and the continuous and deliberate appointment of unqualified teachers to teach the people of Southern Cameroons in public schools, the people took to the streets in a peaceful protest against the injustices. The reaction of the La Republique du Cameroun was swift and violent:

(a) Hundreds have been abducted and many more injured and killed.
(b) Female University students were raped and some killed.
(c) Lawyers were beaten, their wigs and gowns seized and some were arrested.

In reaction to the wanton acts of brutality, the civil society joined and declared an all-out civil disobedience against the government. Faced with the generalized civil disobedience, the government pretended to negotiate. When the negotiations failed, leaders negotiating with the government were kidnapped and jailed.

All the civil groups in the Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia) with who the negotiations were taking place were banned and their leaders arrested and jailed. Any discussion of the problem publicly has been criminalized. In addition to all these, the government of La Republique du Cameroun disconnected the internet from the Southern Cameroons for close to a hundred days. More arrests of people who show sympathy for the cause take place on a daily basis. Hundreds of those arrested are regularly ferried from their areas of origin and detained in bunkers and dungeons as prisoners of war in Yaoundé.

The leaders who unsuccessfully negotiated with the government are being court martialed before a military tribunal even though they are not soldiers, and tried in a language they do not understand. The civil disobedience caused all schools to shut down the entire 2016/2017 academic year. The chances that schools will resume come September 2017 for the new academic year in the Southern Cameroons are close to zero.

Faced with the scandal of the loss of another academic year the government decided to send diplomatic missions around the world to persuade Southern Cameroonians (Ambazonians) in the diaspora to urge those at home to resume school, to stop all protests against the injustices, abductions and killings to which the people of Southern Cameroons are being subjected; and also to explain their own side of the story to friendly foreign governments., Three delegations went out for this purpose, one to the USA and Canada, the other to continental Europe including Belgium, and a third to South Africa. All amongst which received resistance from the Southern Cameroonians and sent them in shame. As it stands, it is the popular will of Ambazonians that school shall not resume until restoration.

Dr. Larry Ayamba
Secretary Of State
Ambazonia Governing Council

 

 

 

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