The political crisis between President Paul Biya’s regime and the people of Cameroon’s English speaking part continues to worsen every day. The Anglophone part of Cameroon wants autonomy on the grounds of marginalization in every sector of their lives: political, social, economic and much more. There are shocking Videos and photos on the internet of killings and burning of villages attributed to government soldiers. What is happening is as if government troops were deployed with orders not to take prisoners, but kill anyone they believe is unhappy with the regime. Who else is involved in the killing? In addition to existing separatist groups which are also reported to be committing crimes, there are many self-defense groups to primarily protect their families and themselves.
In the meantime, human rights activists have been calling on the international community to do more to stop further killings. Seven activists from this part of the country were recently sentenced from 10 to 15 years by a military court in the capital Yaoundé. They have been charged with “acts of terrorism, hostility against the homeland, secession, revolution and insurrection”, according to AFP news agency. Jails are full.
Contrary to the common label of the crisis as Cameroonian French-Anglophone conflict, political facts paint a different picture. The crisis is not a linguistic or cultural problem between citizens of Cameroon. Rather it is a governance issue. As of 2018, Paul Biya has ruled Cameroon for 36 years, making him one of Africa longest self-serving presidents. He is also a candidate in the upcoming elections which many believe he will certainly rig and pretend he won. His successor, Ahmadou Babatoura Ahidjo and first President of Cameroon (1960-1982) ruled for 22 years.
Since Cameroon’s independence from France on January 1st, 1960, there have been two presidents. Their respective government’s role in current events in the English part of the country is of great significance in understanding and finding a lasting solution to the crisis. Calls for ceasefire and talks are intensifying because the crisis is a political in nature. Learn more