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Yaoundé Results to Intimidation of Anglophones As Solution To Crisis

Groupement Special Vehicles roaming Bamenda have been scaring the population instead

Groupement Special Vehicles roaming Bamenda have been scaring the population instead

The government of Cameroon has launched the next phase of its campaign to kill the spirit of the Anglophone uprising, with state security agents and some government departments proceeding to intimidation of the population through various means and the arrest of anyone suspected of talking about the strike.

Journalists in Bamenda in particular have been at the forefront of government’s brunt. Yesterday, Tim Finnian, the publisher of Life Time Magazine was picked up by several heavily armed security officials at the Sonac Street. He is accused of haven reported the dead of two of the Anglophone youths detained in Yaoundé.

Radio Hot Cocoa recently resumed broadcast after it was shut down by a regional order, while Radio Jakiri and Rainbow FM of Mbengwi have also suffered similar fate in the hands of administrators executing the will of Yaoundé.  Journalists in Bamenda, Kumba, Limbe and Buea are being followed by plain clothes security officials around town, while security officials are recording almost every broadcast on Radio in these towns and others in West Cameroon. This has created fear amongst some media promoters with some like Rush FM Radio Bamenda and Planet FM of Mbengwi voluntarily going off air as a means to avoid a clash with the authorities.

Security officials have also been going around parts of Up Station moving into houses and compounds to force pupils and students to go back to school. Down town, several youths have been arrested for merely grouping around their neighbourhood discussing about the prevailing situation in the country. Plain clothes uniform officers are now found at drinking spots, taxis, in the markets and at major junction, arresting individuals for merely talking about the teachers’ and lawyers’ strike. Such arrests have been reported in many neighbourhoods of Bamenda.

This midweek, two youths were arrested at the Mile III check Point at Up Station with their laptops on their way back from the West Region because they were suspected of going there to use internet lines to spread news of the Anglophone uprising. Bamenda Online was later informed that they were release after dishing out huge sums of money to buy their freedom.

The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (MINPOSTEL) has been inundating mobile phone subscribers in these regions with SMS intimidating them of the consequences of spreading false information over the social media. Some of these SMS read “ Dear subscriber, you may be sentenced to 20 years in prison if found guilty or slander or propagating false declarations on the social media”, “dear subscriber, you incur  6 months to 2 imprisonment, and  or 5 to 10 million fine , if you publish or spread on the social media, information that you can’t prove” After discovering that the tone of the message was so harsh, the next round come with a softer tone like this one “dear subscriber, do not be an accomplice of disinformation or the destabilization of our country through the social media”

But contrary to all these the mode in the ground is more of defiance by the entire Anglophone community. The Ghost Towns still continued to be hugely respected despite the internet blackout, the arrest of Anglophone leaders and the threats issued out to press men and women to stay away from any radio and newspaper reports about the strike.

Some journalist and media houses continue to defy these orders and have continued to broadcast and print news about the crisis. Many journalists consider it a sacrifice for the struggle.

Before internet connections were suspended in the Northwest and Southwest, the National Communication Council (NCC) of Peter Essoka had issued an order calling on all media houses to desist from reporting or holding talk shows on the Anglophone crisis, threatening them with suspension.

Above all these, the Groupement Special Du Operations, GSO and other units of the police still roam the town of Bamenda, hands on triggers with sniper rifles looking menacingly at people lined along the roads, while major junctions and streets are still manned by several detachments of the police and gendarmes. Bamenda is still a militarized zone.

Yet government has remained completely silent in front of the Anglophone crisis. What La Republique is doing is trying to fragment the public in its erroneous believe that the crisis is been engineered by some individuals.  Recent reports in Bamenda say the government has been meeting with village meeting groups mostly from the West region to bribe them with huge sums of money not to lock their shops and for taxi drivers and “benskin” riders amongst them to work during the ghost towns called for every Mondays and Tuesdays still government listen to the people of West Cameroon. In Buea, the Mayor is said to have added additional locks to shed locked up during the ghost town and has also reportedly bought taxis that he intends to use during the ghost town to defeat it purpose.