Arrest of Ayuk & Co, What Implications For Anglophone Regions

Sisiku Ayuk

  Following the arrest of the Julius Ayuk Tabe President of the Ambazonia Interim Government, and some of his close collaborators in Abuja on January 5, 2018 by the Nigerian Special Forces and their subsequent extradition to Cameroon, a dark cloud seems to have moved over both Anglophone regions of Cameroon, provoking a series of attacks by unidentified individuals, a heavy crack down on the civilian population by the military and a series curfew and ghost towns.

The exact circumstance leading to their arrest, their where about and the conditions of their detention still remains an issue of mere speculation.  These unanswered questions in the mind of many Anglophone Cameroonians who are directly involved in the crisis can best be addressed by the Nigeria and Cameroon governments but both have elected to play the Ostrich further annoying and incensing the people of these two regions who have been hoping a solution to the crisis may be arrived at through dialogue, more than 15 months since the first signals of the Anglophone crisis were fired.

 The Anglophone crisis was inadvertently fuelled by the heavy crack down employed by government through the military during the massive street demonstrations of September 22nd,  October 1 and December 8th incidents which left many casualties amongst people who came out to express their frustrations with the current system and way they are governed.  The Killings in parts of the Anglophone regions simply barred the people from freely demonstrating and expressing their views and pushed them into the bushes which has taken us to where we are today.

From a socio-political and economic point of view, one would agree in clear terms that the recent arrest of the Ambazonian leaders coupled with the controversies surrounding their where about is now taking the crisis to yet another level whereby genuine steps towards conflict resolution are not taken, the crisis way spiral out of control which may end badly for Cameroon.  We have all seen the crisis metamorphosed from street demonstrations to burning of school and crippling ghost towns after the arrest of the Consortium leaders, then to the attack on security forces as the crisis drag on. Today, with the arrest of Ayuk and Co. the crisis has moves from simple hit and run attacks to very bold attacks on security forces and installations to kidnapping of administrative official, a big hit on the government if we must accept.

      According to International Crisis Group report, an N.G.O based in Belgium, within the space of three months, 23 Soldiers and 90 Civilians have been killed with the death toll on both sides increasing as the crisis drag on. The villages of Dadi, Kwa-Kwa, Bole, Bangem, Batibo, Belo and Bamenda just to name a few have witnessed attacks and killings of security forces.

There is panic within security forces as rumours spread amongst their ranks that the secessionist forces employ black magi known as the “Odey-Shi’ boys who are said to be bullet with the ability to appear and disappear after their operations. This surely explains why the military has also decided to transfers their aggression to the civilian population with a heavy crack down on the civilian population whenever a colleague is killed.  They have descended  with no mercy to the unfortunate one in areas where one of theirs were killed, especially in remote areas where its difficult to verify the authenticity of their actions.

With gross human right violations perpetrated by the military on the population, coupled with cases of looting and other forms of brutality, several residents where security officials were killed have either fled to the bushes, into neigbouring villages or have crossed the border into Nigeria. The present crisis resurrects the memories of the UPC uprising after independence which was heavily crack down by security forces. But that was during an era where Cameroon was still very remote, the general population was less educated and the spread of information was not as wide spread as today. It’s now becoming abundantly clear that we are not far off from a full blown civil war if we don’t chose the path of dialogue.

 But what many fear today is that the path to this dialogue may still be miles away after the Head of State in his message to the youths on the eve of the Youth Day instead announced that calm is gradually returning to the Anglophones regions, a statement which is far from the truth if present happenings and the imposition of curfews is taken into account.  We are slowly losing it and this may be the time for Anglophone leaders from irrespective of their background to rise as one people and speak with a united voice for things to happen. I strongly believe that if this was happening in the “Grand North” a solution would have been sorted out long before we reach where we are today. For once let us put our heads together for a common good if we really want to harvest votes from these very people.

By Pedmia Shatu T.

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