By Fon Njim
The Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC), which is fighting for restoration of the Independence of Southern Cameroons, used the November 21 announced teachers’ strike to popularize its quest for self-determination.
Although teachers called for a sit-in strike other disgruntled people notably unemployed youth and SCNC devotees staged street protests in Bamenda.
Southern Cameroons had gained its independence on October 1, 1961 by joining La Repulique du Cameroun, to form what is today known as the Republic of Cameroon; but since the union Southern Cameroonians have been complaining of gross marginalsation and discrimination against by their majority French-speaking compatriots.
It was to address the issue of Southern Cameroons marginalization that the SCNC was formed in 1994, with Lawyer Ekontang Elad as pioneer chairman. Yet since the creation of the SCNC, the Biya Administration has labeled the group as illegal and secessionist. As such its adherents have been molested, persecuted, prosecuted and jailed, forcing many to flee abroad for asylum.
With the on-going strikes by lawyers and teachers plus the fact that, the SCNC is taking advantage of the crisis situation to call for the independence of Anglophones, Government has intensified efforts to crackdown on the activists.
SCNC activists especially those who infiltrated the Bamenda protests are now living in fear. For example, staunch Ebai John Tong Junior(born on August 20,1992), and Sone Ebongue R.Slyvain,both ex trainees of Cameroon OIC Buea who reportedly took part in the street protests displaying messages calling for the independence of Southern Cameroons, narrowly escaped being arrested by security operatives.
Their relatives say they have since gone underground following the arrest of several others.
Many other young activists have since become mute and are hiding fearing for their lives, leaving their families worried.
It would be recalled that Anglophone lawyers had started peaceful street demonstrations to force Government pay attention to their worries; but police in riot gear tear-gassed and molested them in Buea and Bamenda;then came the Anglophone teachers’ sit-in strike which started last November 21 worsening the crisis situation.
As the teachers’ observed their sit-in strike last November 21 in Bamenda, a group of residents led by a certain journalist Mancho Bibixy ,who was carrying a coffin, paraded the streets of Bamenda calling for repair of the deplorable state of roads in the town. The demonstrations soon turned violent and bloody as the protesters clashed with anti-riot police, resulting later in the deaths of persons.
Political pundits and international organizations have condemned the repressive measures adopted by Government to resolve what is now know as the Anglophone crisis. But the government says Cameroon is “one and indivisible”, and cannot condone agents of disunity.