Friday, September 29, 2017

Planned Protests for Restoration of Southern Cameroons: UN urges Biya Government, Anglophones to exercise retraint

Deeply Concerned about Cameroon Situation,Secretary-General Urges All Parties to Refrain from Actions that Could Escalate Tensions, Violence
The following statement was issued on  September 28,2017,by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres:
The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the situation in Cameroon, including with regard to the recent security incidents in Bamenda and in Douala, and mounting tensions in the south-west and north-west regions related to planned events on 1 October.

  The Secretary-General has encouraged the Cameroonian authorities to continue their efforts to address the grievances of the Anglophone community. 

 He urges the authorities to promote measures of national reconciliation aimed at finding a durable solution to the crisis, including by addressing its root causes. 

 The Secretary-General supports upholding the unity and territorial integrity of Cameroon and urges all parties to refrain from acts that could lead to an escalation of tension and violence.  

The Secretary-General believes that genuine and inclusive dialogue between the Government and the communities in the south-west and north-west regions is the best way to preserve the unity and stability of the country.
The Secretary-General stands ready to support these efforts, including through the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA).

Monday, September 25, 2017

Anglophone Crisis turning bloody as activists go underground

By Cletus Mba                                                  
The Anglophone crisis, which started in October 2016 may plunge Cameroon in to a civil war, should Government continue to crack down on Independence activists, many pundits hold.

Cheerful crowd receiving Bar.Agbor Nkongho after his release from Prison
 The one-year old crisis has resulted in the deaths of many civilians in the Northwest and Southwest regions, formerly known as British Southern Cameroons.
The crisis actually started with protests against the “frenchification” of the Common Law system and the English Education subsystem in Cameroon, as irate lawyers and Anglophone teachers staged street demonstrations to press for a redress of their grievances.
At least 40 protesters were arrested when law enforcement agents in combat-ready gear confronted massive anti-government demonstrations last November 21, 2016 in Bamenda.Tens of others sustained. As protesters clashed with police, at least one person was shot dead

The lawyers’ and teachers ‘strikes almost completely paralyzed the functioning of courts and schools in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon for months.                                                                                                                        

After failing to appease the protesters with some measures, the Biya regime resorted to a crackdown on the activists -prompting the protesters to call for continuous civil disobedience and ghost towns
When on September 22, 2017 President Paul Biya was addressing  a UN General Assembly in the US, Anglophone activists were staging public  demonstrations across Anglophone Cameroon in order to draw the world’s  attention to their plight.Similar protests took place at the UN General Assembly to the embarrassment of the  Cameroon president   
 The September 22 protests in Buea left at least five civilians dead. They were reportedly shot by the military. Many protesters were arrested, forcing many others to go into hiding.

 A group of radical activists headed by one Lionel Nkwelle Ekere, born on May 25th, 1984, is reportedly one of the prime targets for police arrest. The group was identified as moving from one neighborhood to the other urging Anglophones especially the youth to rise up and fearlessly defend their right of self-determination.
  But Nkwelle Ekere and group members are said to have since disappeared when allegations made rounds that if caught they may be killed as police have intensified their search.
The Biya Regime,which has always insisted that Cameroon is “One and indivisible”, tags activists advocating the independence of Southern Cameroons as terrorists. And the maximum punishment for terrorism is the death penalty.

When the Biya government on January 17, 2017 arrested Barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho, president of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium, CACSC in Buea and his secretary-General Dr.Fontem Neba and detained them in Yaoundé, the action instead radicalized more Anglophones. The CACSC generally coordinated Anglophone protests, with a strong backing from the Southern Cameron National Council, SCNC now also an outlawed organization.SCNC was created in 1994 to ensure the independence of Southern Cameroons.
President Biya, 84, who has ruled Cameroon since 1982


Friday, September 15, 2017

Restoration of Southern Cameroons' Independence :An Open Letter to the Secretary General of United Nations Organization

" Dear Mr. Secretary General,
Protests by Palestine cannot Revoke Israel’s Independence
Thanks for taking questions on the occasion of #UNGA72. Special thanks for your kind consideration of the suggestions I offer below.
First, thank you for what you do for world peace and security. Kindly allow me to draw your attention anew to the ongoing crisis in the Cameroons. The United Nations holds the key to resolving this crisis. Surely the Secretary General agrees that it would neither be justice nor promotion of world peace if UNGA Resolution 181 (adopted thanks to 33 YES votes, 13 NO votes and 10 abstentions and resulting in effective independence for Israel) were to be undermined because of Palestinian opposition to international sovereignty for Israel. It is the failure of the United Nations to fully implement UNGA Resolution 1608 (adopted thanks to 64 YES votes, 23 NO votes and 10 abstentions, granting independence to Southern Cameroons) that is at the root cause of the crisis in the Cameroons.
Second, when shall the United Nations do justice by Southern Cameroons and resolve this crisis by tackling its root cause? The UN witnessed and recorded the opposition of the Republic of Cameroon (which voted NO under UNGA Resolution 1608, thereby voting both against Union with and Independence for Southern Cameroons). Yet, the United Nations imposed a “forced marriage” between what, then and now, are clearly unwilling and unprepared couple. Or, did the UNGA merely mean to grant Independence to Southern Cameroons with the right hand (under Resolution 1608) while taking it back with the left? How does an abusive and more powerful neighboring country like the Republic of Cameroon accommodate an independent Southern Cameroons whose Independence the former voted to deny? Could the United Nations guarantee the independence of Kuwait by trusting Iraq to take care?
Third, you would agree, I hope, that by proceeding as outlined above the United Nations merely violated Article 76(b) of its Charter which reaffirms independence as the inherent and inalienable right of all colonies and Trust Territories (including Southern Cameroons). Why is the United Nations avoiding to address the non existence of a union treaty between the Republic of Cameroon and Southern Cameroons as laid out under Articles 102 and 103 of the United Nations Charter?
Fourth, why is the United Nations holding back from evoking so many of its own Resolutions; why is it not evoking Article 4(b) of the African Union Constitutive Act on the sanctity of borders inherited from Colonialism to rule that the borders of the Republic of Cameroon were frozen when it achieved independence on 1st January 1960? Why is the UN unable to evoke its own Resolutions and International Law to remind the Republic of Cameroon that colonialism and, obviously, recolonization are crimes against humanity? Why is the United Nations not evoking Principles VII, VIII & IX of UNGA Resolution 1541 to help deal with the ongoing crisis in the Cameroons?
Fifth, could I kindly ask the Secretary General to, please, put himself in the shoes of Southern Cameroonians today. Growing up or living in his native Portugal, could the Secretary General consider his country independent and his people sovereign or self-governing if he and his people, among other things, were under brutish rule by a police force, a gendarmerie, an army, and an administration (at all levels: region, province, town, hamlet and village) which speaks the English language for example instead of the language of your people (Portuguese)? This is the yoke the United Nations put on Southern Cameroons by failing to hand over the instruments of sovereignty (independence) to the people of Southern Cameroons.
Sixth, would the Secretary General consider Portugal independent if the legal system used in your homeland was coming from a neighboring country; if it was inspired by the French system, not the law the Portuguese people use? If Portuguese political leaders, trade unionists, lawyers, teachers, journalists, activists and ordinary citizens (all of them civilians) were to be abducted from Portugal, deported to France, for example, and forced to go through torture, detention, awaiting trial and trial before military tribunals using the French language, not Portuguese? Or, if young Portuguese people went to primary and secondary school in Portuguese but had to do university education in English?
Seventh, would the Secretary General’s mother, brother or sister still consider their country independent instead of being under colonial administration and military occupation by a foreign dominating force if the official language of Portugal (Portuguese) was bypassed in official documents, in currency, on road signs, etc. in favor of French, for example, which also happens to be the language of the neighboring country? Would they call Portugal independent if their president and senior government officials spoke English, instead of Portuguese; if they had no choice but to consult with a medical doctor or nurse at Government hospital who spoke English, not Portuguese? If they could only make a case before the judicial police of their country by using French, instead of Portuguese? If nearly six decades of history have proven beyond any doubt that Southern Cameroonians are only second class citizens of the country the colonizing power wants them to believe is also theirs?
I could go on, but I am sure that the SG gets my drift and, hopefully, understands the kind of linguistic apartheid, economic, cultural and political domination that the colonial government of the Republic of Cameroon has imposed on Southern Cameroons for 56+ years. Our people have been patient these many decades, hoping and working in good faith to make whatever union is claimed to work. However, and as with Nigeria over the 44 years which came to an end when our representatives walked out of the Eastern House of Assembly in 1953, our people have come to one more than obvious conclusion: this God forsaken union or whatever it is called will never work.
I am writing, therefore, to add my voice to the millions of Southern Cameroonians who are appealing to the United Nations and the African Union to recognize that the illegal occupation of Southern Cameroons is similar, in many ways, to the illegal occupation of East Timor by Indonesia.
One fact the Republic of Cameroon is not sharing with the world is this: Yaounde seceded from whatever union it wants to claim existed between it and Buea when it unilaterally reverted in April 1984 to the name it had inherited from colonization on the 1st of January 1960; a full year and nine months before the independence of Southern Cameroons was supposed to be effective on 1st October 1961.
Please, do not listen to those offering what is an unsustainable solution in the form of decentralization or federalism. After 56 years of experimenting with this so-called union, it is important to recognize that even the solution of a union of two states, equal in status, initially pledged by Yaounde and envisaged by the UN, is impossible to implement. Equal in status to Yaounde really means, as our people have rightly argued all along – quietly, at first, but very loudly since last year – “two states, equal in status” means that not only Yaounde but also Buea flies its own flag, runs its own government, runs its own diplomacy, has its own seat at the United Nations and the African Union, runs its own administration, hires, trains and manages its own security forces and army, etc. As I am sure the Secretary General will agree, such an arrangement can only be possible if the independence of Southern Cameroons (obtained under UNGA Resolution 1608) is recognized, fully implemented and guaranteed.
The argument put forward by Yaounde that Southern Cameroons used to be a part of the former German Kamerun is an attempt at masking expansionism. More countries than Southern Cameroons were part of that German Kamerun. Shall Yaounde annex other countries once it is successful with Southern Cameroons? If the United Nations will not allow such expansionism, then why make Southern Cameroons the sacrificial lamb? Who is the United Nations appeasing? Would that be different from the appeasement which failed to satisfy the expansionist tendencies of Adolf Hitler? Should we expect the Republic of Cameroon to claim Northern Cameroons next? Besides, and even granting Southern Cameroons was a part of the Republic of Cameroon, are we the first country to gain independence from an existing country? So many independent countries were once part of another country. The USA was once part of the British Empire. South Sudan was once part of Sudan. Eritrea was once part of Ethiopia. Angola, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau were once part of Portugal.
What is clear, Mr. Secretary General, is that the Sovereign People of Southern Cameroons today overwhelming reject all the unsustainable solutions of the past. We seek a meaningful solution to the crimes of annexation, illegal military occupation and abusive colonial rule by the Republic of Cameroon. And you, Mr. Secretary General, are in a unique place in history to render justice to Southern Cameroons. The hard work has been done already. UNGA to Resolution 1608 is already on the books. All what the UNGA has to do is to seat Southern Cameroons as a full Member State of the United Nations once its Sovereign People elect a government of their own. The fact that our independence is contested and challenged by the Republic of Cameroon should not cause the UN to revisit the matter as this would be responding to the colonial whims and annexationist caprices of the Republic of Cameroon.
Rather, the UN should reaffirm that no country has had to vote for or obtain independence twice. When it was time for The Gambia to break away from the SeneGambia Confederacy, Banjul did not have to organize another referendum for independence and neither the UN Security Council nor its General Assembly have to vote anew. The United Nations should reaffirm that Southern Cameroons can only be part of the Republic of Cameroon if they obtained independence together. Of Southern Cameroons, as Yaounde claims, is only two of the ten regions of the Republic of Cameroon, can Yaounde show which other two regions obtained a vote for independence separately from Yaounde? Which other country had regions of it seek and obtain independence separately?
The people of Southern Cameroons place their trust in the ability of the United Nations to uphold justice and to defend its own Resolutions. We rest our hope in the United Nations doing for Southern Cameroons what it has done in defense of the independence of Israel despite many decades of protests, contestation and even wars waged by the Palestinian people and parts of the Arab World to subvert it. UNGA Resolution 181 has the same force as UNGA Resolution 1608, unless the United Nations is sending a loud message to all the peoples of the United Nations that all peoples are equal, but some people are more equal than others.
Most respectfully,
Ntumfoyn Boh Herbert (Yindo Toh)
Spokesperson, Movement for the Restoration of the Independence of Southern Cameroons (MoRISC)
On the web at
NB:This letter was posted on September 14, 2017 on UNSG’s WALL

Monday, September 4, 2017

Anglophone Crisis: Freed Minority Rights Leaders accorded hero’s welcome in Buea

Freed  Minority Rights Leader Barrister  Felix  Agbor Nkongho  arrived Buea on Friday September 1,2017  and is accorded a
hero's welcome by  cherring crowds.The activist(in suit) waves back at them in appreciation
By Christopher Ambe
Hundreds of people including rights advocates, on Friday September 1, thronged the residences of Barrister Felix Agbor  Nkongho(fondly called Balla) and Dr.Fontem  Aforteka’a  Neba , President  and Secretary  ,respectively, of the banned  Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium(CACSC), as well as the homes of 10 other released Southwest-based activists  to celebrate their release from  Kondengui Prison ,where they had spent eight months facing trials .

Barrister Nkongho and Dr.Fontem who were part of the coordination of peaceful protests to demand the rights of English-speaking minority in Cameroon, were arrested last January 17 in Buea and jailed in Yaoundé. They were charged, among others, for promoting terrorism, a crime that is punished, maximally, with death.

International and national pressure kept mounting on President Biya to order the release of all those detained in connection with the Anglophone rights protests.

And last August 30, President Biya ordered, through the Secretary-General at the Presidency Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, “ the discontinuance of proceedings  pending  before the Yaounde Military Court against Messrs  Nkongho  Felix Agbor,Fontem Aforteta’a, Paul Ayah Abine and some other persons arrested in relation to the violence committed in recent months in the North west and Southwest Regions”

Of the 54 detainees released, who had been arrested in the Northwest Region and Southwest Region 12 are residents of the latter region.
The freed activists were driven to the two Anglophone regions, guarded by armed security men, on board two 70-seater buses.

In Buea, Southwest Governor Bernard Okala Bilai officially received the twelve freed detainees, in front of his office, amid shouts of joy and cheers from the crowd that had turned out to see “a dream come true.”

The Governor, who was accompanied by the DO for Buea,Wokam Paul, told the freed activists  that, they were lucky to have benefited from the discretion of President Biya.

He urged them to promote peace and work towards building a stronger and united nation. The Governor then advised them not to slip into such a predicament again.

From the Governor’s office, the freed activists, accompanied by their fans, friends, well-wishers and families were driven to their various homes, where wining and dining greeted their arrivals.

At the residence of Barrister Agbor Nkongho in Federal Quarters the mood was festive; same was the atmosphere at the residence of Dr.Fontem in Santa Babara Quarter.
The two officials of the banned Consortium are yet to make press declarations.
                    Lawyers’ Reactions
Reacting to their release to this reporter at the residence of Barrister Agbor Nkongho, the Southwest Regional Secretary for the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms, Christopher Tambe Tiku, said: “Our position has been clear from the day that they were arrested- that they were innocent and that the rule of law should be respected. I am happy that the Head of State used his wisdom -and may be based on advice from some goodwill Cameroonians that these people were innocent.
A cross section of lawyers and rights advocates at freed  Barrister Nkongho 's Buea residence
“The people clamored for the release of their leaders because they thought that they were innocent and for obvious reasons the Head of State had no option than to listen to them, and ordered the discontinuance of judicial proceedings.
“So what is important now is for us to engage in genuine dialogue. We cannot pretend to say that the Anglophone crisis has been resolved.
 “Now that the enabling climate for dialogue is there, let us not compromise the education of our children. Our children must now go to school. I am a lecturer at the University of Buea.I have been teaching other children and I see no reason why mine should be at home instead”

According to Lawyer Samuel Eboa,Fakla coordinator of Buea-based advocates, who was one of the first people to welcome the freed activists when they arrived Buea early Thursday morning, “I am quite elated that they are back home after eight months in isolation..”

Freed Barrister Nkongho with journalists
at his Buea residence on Sept.1,2017
In his reaction to the discontinuance of proceedings, Barrister John Kameni,a close friend of Felix Agbor Nkongho,said: “First of all I want to thank the Almighty God for having  mercy on people who seek justice. I want to thank President Paul Biya who has been used by God to give instructions for there to be peace in this country. I equally want to thank all those who took care of my brother Balla during his incarceration. I want to thank Balla for his calm and resilience while in jail-he was not carried by emotions or excitement. He made his point very clear: that he is working for the Cameroon, and not for himself.

To Barrister Ajong Stanislaus, their release is indicative of the President Biya’s acknowledgement “that Balla did not commit any crime. We have taken note”

Also reacting, Lawyer Enow Benjamin said he was happy that Balla is back home.” We hope he would continue the struggle for the rights of citizens of this country.”

Friday, September 1, 2017

Cameroon frees dozens of English-speaking activists; others still held

By Josiane Kouagheu

YAOUNDE (Reuters) - Dozens of activists from Cameroon’s English speaking community were freed from jail on Friday as the mainly French-speaking nation’s president moved to ease months of tension in its minority regions.   

 President Paul Biya on Wednesday ordered a military court to drop its prosecution of the detainees, who were arrested following protests launched late last year by anglophones demanding equal treatment.    

Around 50 were released from two prisons in the capital Yaounde after midnight. Watched by security forces, a crowd of family members and journalists gathered outside to greet the activists, who then boarded buses that took them home. 

 “I was in jail for five months. My mother couldn’t visit me,” said one freed detainee, who asked not to be named. “I‘m innocent. I was arrested when I went out to see a gathering of leaders ...I was just getting by. Now I have nothing left.”  

 Among others freed were civil society leaders Felix Agbor Balla and Fontem Aforteka‘a Neba, arrested in January and being held under anti-terrorism laws enacted in response to incursions in the country’s north by Islamist militant group Boko Haram.  

 The pair - who pleaded not guilty in February to charges that included complicity in hostility against the homeland, secession and civil war - had faced a potential death sentence if convicted.  

 Their case added fuel to long-standing opposition in the North-West and South-West regions against President Biya’s francophone-dominated government, which has responded to unrest there with a crackdown.   

Biya’s office said the decision to release the detainees reflected the president’s resolve to find a “peaceful solution to crises”.

But an easing of tensions did not appear imminent as others, including well-known radio broadcaster Mancho Bibixy, remained in jail with their cases due to be reviewed at the end of this month. 

 “Bibixy and the others were only expressing what they thought. They didn’t kill anyone,” Calvin Tah Ndangoh, his lawyer, told Reuters. “We do not know for sure why he wasn’t released.” 

 Anglophone activists have called for a boycott of the start of the new school year next week.  

 In response, around 1,000 paramilitary police, including 400 reinforcements, were deployed in the two volatile regions due to the “persistent threat of activists” in a security operation due to last 128 days.

Additional reporting by Anne-Mireille Nzouankeu; Writing by Joe Bavier; editing by John Stonestreet