By John Bessong
Since Cameroon’s 2011 presidential election, the Biya regime has been more alert as activists of Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC) fighting for the restoration of the statehood of Southern Cameroon had threatened to disrupt the polls.
Formed in 1994, the SCNC is considered by the Biya regime as an outlawed separatist group, which is threatening the unity of Cameroon and as such many its supporters have been arrested, molested and prosecuted, a situation that has forced many others to flee abroad, where they can freely and fearlessly bash the Biya regime.
Fresh in minds of the public is how plainclothes security agents reportedly swooped on a secret gathering of some radical SCNC activists on September 26, 2012 in the town of Tiko in the Southwest region of Cameroon and arrested them
|Signou Wassou Clauvice|
“We were preparing for the October 1, 2012 commemoration of the Independence of the state of Southern Cameroons, when the security men encircled us and arrested some people while others escaped .You could see how the security agents beat- up activists who refused to accompany them to a waiting police van, which was parked some 15 metres away from the venue of our meeting,” Signou narrated to this reporter.
From that September 28, the crackdown and search of SCNC members intensified across the Southwest Region, where the separatist group has it headquarters.
Signou, who was one of those who escaped, said while he was traveling to Douala on September 28, after the Tiko incident some police officer on patrol along the Tiko – Douala road identified him on board a passenger bus as one of the SCNC activists they were looking out for. “Fearing that I could be arrested, I stepped down from the bus with other passengers and as the Police were checking the identities of other passengers, I sneaked out of the vicinity and quickly walked off,” he said.
Since then Signou was living in fear until his family raised funds and made it possible for him to flee Cameroon and join many others abroad for safety.
Other sharp critics of the decades-old Biya Regime even students have been targets of molestation. One Colins Djimeli Mensah, a political scientist student of the University of Buea and human rights advocate, now in the USA, on several occasions was allegedly tortured allegedly by plainclothes security agents. But the government has always refused that it sends out it forces to molest anybody.
According to security sources, although Mensah is now in the USA, Cameroon’s secret services are still monitoring him and other radical Cameroonian activists.
Inspired by the Arab uprising some Cameroonians in the Diaspora recently called, via the social media, on Cameroonians to protest against the Biya regime- a situation that forced the Government of Cameroon to block internet facilities during the early months of the Arab uprising.
Despite the crackdown, the SCNC and other opponents of the Biya Regime are not giving up their fights. But the Biya regime has argued that its long stay in power is thanks to free and fair elections.