US Indictment of US Citizens of the Former British Southern Cameroonian Origin: Deconstructing The Cameroon Government’s Misleading And Disinformation Campaign.
Over the last few weeks, the public has read and heard all sorts of claims and allegations from senior members of the Cameroon government and their proxies abroad, following the indictment and the ongoing judicial proceedings against some US Citizens of the Former British Southern Cameroonian origin. The indictment has been for alleged crimes related to Kidnapping for Ransoms, to Fund Separatist Militia activities in the ongoing-armed conflict in the Southern Cameroons.
The charges are specific as stated, with the plaintiff rightly being the United States of America and not the Cameroon government. The alleged crimes (if proven) are crimes that violate the US constitution and are therefore punishable, irrespective of who committed them.
Worth stating here that, the ongoing investigation by the US judiciary does not, in any way suggest the US government’s position on the ongoing conflict in the Southern Cameroons has changed or is shifting. It is a judicial matter for alleged crimes that purportedly violate the US constitution.
Contrary to the concerns and fears nursed by many Southern Cameroonians, the US government still strongly recognizes and sympathizes with the legitimate plight and the struggle of the people of the former British Southern Cameroons. The US government also rightly acknowledges their persecution by the Cameroon government, the reason why the US government recently awarded US-based indigenes from this region the Temporary Protection Status (TPS), a move that is more of a government policy position.
Unlike Cameroon, the US is a country of law with a clear separation of powers that establishes three separate but equal branches of government: the legislative branch that makes the law, the executive branch that enforces the law, and the judicial branch that interprets the law, with nobody above the law (not even the president). If there is probable cause that suggests a crime has been committed, it will be investigated, as is the case now and the accused persons remain innocent until proven guilty.
Having said that, the ongoing investigation and indictments do however give a rogue nation like Cameroun reasons to spin the story to their advantage and embolden the regime to further persecute the already suffering and marginalized population of the Southern Cameroons.
While it can be rightly asserted that there has been a significant level of frustration at both the national and the internal level, given the number of excesses and egregious abuses including kidnappings (both real by some separatist fighters and staged scenes by sponsored proxies of the regime), the burden and the weight of crimes against humanity committed by Cameroon government forces should not be overlooked.
The Cameroon government must be held accountable for fomenting this conflict and must bear responsibility for a large number of the heinous and well-documented crimes committed on the ground, against the people of the former British Southern Cameroons.
As I write, there’s a strong case being filed against the government of Cameroon at the ICC by an international team of legal experts. In their 200-page legal brief filed in March 2022, these legal experts (all well versed and familiar with such cases) have provided the ICC prosecutor’s office with facts and well-documented evidence of crimes against humanity committed against the people of former British Southern Cameroons (commonly referred to as Anglophones).
With such a high profile case pending, where most senior Cameroon government officials could be individually indicted for crimes against humanity, giving their direct or indirect contributions to the ongoing conflict, it is therefore but normal to expect the Cameroon government to spin whatever is happening in the US to their advantage and take it out of context.
One and only one fact remains clear, and those truly committed to the plight of the people of the Southern Cameroons must remain steadfast and not be distracted or deterred by the ongoing judicial proceedings in the United States. As I have said repeatedly on numerous occasions, those who have in the cause of this struggle committed (or continue to commit) crimes against innocent civilians will be punished accordingly, be it now or when the guns go silent.
Every struggle of this nature goes through a process of self-purification, hence the ongoing proceedings in the United States could also be seen as a wake-up call to all concerned to sit up, and work towards the common good of the people of the former British Southern Cameroons, so that peace can return, rather than blindly continue along the path of selfish interest, greed, “self-aggrandisement” and ill-calculated power mongering tussles.
Contrary to the perception being sold to the public and to the international community by the Cameroon government, (as evidenced in a recent statement released last week by Cameroon’s permanent mission to the United Nations ) in which dozens of malicious claims have been made with regard to the government’s effort and holistic approach to resolving the ongoing conflict, the world should know that little or no genuine effort has been made thus far, to address the root causes of this conflict. Rather cosmetic, and most often manipulative attempts have been made here and there, with the sole intent to further weaken, divide and erase whatever identity is left of the people of the former British Southern Cameroons.
Other than the creation of a few good-for-nothing and worthless organizations with hand-picked regime loyalists and members of the ruling party as members of bodies like the Regional Councils, the Regional Executives, the Public Conciliators, the House of Chiefs, the Commission for Bilingualism and Multiculturalism, etc, with zero autonomy, there is not a single act to suggest that the government is truly committed to resolving this conflict.
If the regime is true to itself, as it wants to portray, it should allow an independent fact-finding mission into the country to conduct an independent assessment of the situation, followed by an independent third-party process to mediate a settlement of the conflict.
The Cameroon government’s only peace strategy mimics’ that in a feudal society, with the use of manipulative tactics, the military and the reliance on the passage of time, where it hopes the people’s resolve for their plight will diminish over time and subsequently vanish. Unfortunately, this will only prolong the conflict with the danger of an escalation in the future.
To conclude, friends and peace-loving friends of Cameroon worldwide should therefore not give credence to any such manipulative move by a regime that has no interest whatsoever in resolving a conflict that has killed tens of thousands, displaced over two million with hundreds of thousands of kids still having no access to education since 2016.
Dec 12, 2022,