Monday, May 13th, 2019, many around the world wake-up to yet another day but for many Cameroonians, it was far from normal.
The three years old Anglophone crisis which has moved to an armed conflict, leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced with staggering 4 million people affected was being discussed at the highest level of the world diplomacy-UN security council
It was an informal meeting dubbed Arria-Formula with resolutions not binding to the members. But for conflict and people whom for years believed the government has used its diplomatic weight heavily backed by some western powers to shield their plights from the world stage, that moment was indeed historic and all too important irrespective of the name of the meeting
Hearings in the meeting were streamed live on different Facebook pages of Ambazonian activists as millions watch the breathtaking hearing and tears-dropping testimonies from people who have lived the devastation and suffering back in the Central African giant nation
The government had struggled to downplay the importance of the meeting, saying in a communiqué earlier that no meeting about Cameroon is being discussed on that day at the UN Security Council.
In the same breath, Yaoundé warned to fight back any external influence to meddle n the country’s domestic affairs through its foreign minister.
Separatist fighters and their backers have however touted the move as a huge diplomatic win, and a huge blow to the government who insist the Anglophone crisis is purely an internal affair
But as Premier Dion Ngute was still relishing from his largely “successful” North West peace tour, his government was being slaughtered in New York City as the world top diplomats and humanitarian workers struggle to find words to describe the appalling conditions in the country.
As different nations and NGO took turns to give views about a country which is fast attracting international attention albeit government’s chagrin, we look at who said what and why
Rev Fr. Paul-Caritas Bamenda
Rev Fr. Paul of Caritas, an NG belonging to the Roman Catholic Church in the Bamenda Archdiocese was amongst the early witnesses to testify the brutality and carnage taking place back home.
In his more close to 10 minutes read out, the Roman Catholic Priest decry the killings and burning of villages as he readout shocking statistics.
He recounts stories after stories of how health personnel have been killed, students kidnapped and pregnant women murdered in cold blood by both parties. He also called for urgent humanitarian aid and the urgent need for frank and inclusive dialogue to resolve the crisis
The Roman Catholic Church has been at the forefront leading efforts to end the crisis. The Bishops of Cameroon earlier this month decry government’s inaction to solve the crisis and say the President (a roman catholic himself) has shut the door to them.
They had written multiple letters to the president and released shocking statistics in the past about military brutality
France- Cameroon’s closest ally
Many back in Cameroon see the hidden hand of the European giant in the three years crisis in Cameroon.
They accused the French government of keeping the government in power and masterminding the assimilation of Anglophones whose wealth constitutes the lion share in the national budget.
The former colony of East Cameroon has been accused by many even beyond the borders of Cameroon of supporting dictators and wars in its former colonies in order to continue to benefit from the continent’s resources
The French may have confirmed those assertions when they brushed off pressure and calls for intervention in Cameroon, saying the government is already taking measures most recent is the visit of the prime minister to affected regions to resolve the crisis.
They went ahead to call for the international community to support the government in its push to bring lasting peace to the crisis.
France has so many interests in Cameroon and most strategic contracts and businesses deals are owned by the French and many say they control the wealth of the nation.
China-Cameron’s friend in the East
They have been accused by the US and other western nations of using their new found wealth to win the support and friendship of African despots.
Cameroon owes a significant portion of Chinese debts and Yaoundé sees Beijing as a strategic development partner.
The Chinese diplomat yesterday calls the problem “Cameroon’s internal affairs” and called on other nations to back-off, a typical Chinese respond to conflict around the world.
Norwegian refugee council-Act now or deal with consequences later
The President of the Norwegian refugee council had earlier warned the international community to take urgent actions to resolve the crisis or regret later
In his earlier tweets after visiting Cameroon, the humanitarian says he had seen crisis far lesser than this turn out to be a global problem because they were neglected.
In His testimony to the Council, the President who was fresh from a fact-finding mission to Cameroon says “when brutal fighting displaces hundreds of thousands of civilians, it usually sets internal alarm bells ringing”
In his five points conclusion about the crisis plaguing the country, he said “both parties must show a willingness to make compromises on the issues that so early became contentious in this conflict
Easther Njomo-CEO of Reach out begs for Aid
Amongst the speakers at yesterday’s hearing was Easther Njomo, the CEO of REACHOUT, a nonprofit organization in the North West and South West regions
Madam Njomo also shared more lights on the plights of the people of the affected regions especially children and women whom she says was the most affected
But perhaps her biggest crime for the night was her priority on humanitarian assistance than the end of the conflict. She failed to shame and shames those responsible for the crimes and insisted on the need for money to be channeled to her organization.
International “NGOs should work with local organizations like REACH OUT” to reach the people “since they know the environment better” and the armed fighters will not be hostile to them
Despite narrating her personal experience where two of her sons were kidnapped and a head injury she sustains in another confrontation with armed groups, critics say her narration was bias and favors a particular side of the conflict
Her detractors also say she focuses more on begging for money for her personal gains rather than pressing on the Council to put pressure on the government to resolve the crisis which will end the need for humanitarian assistance
US, Russia, UK South Africa- There is the need for urgent dialogue
The United States who doubles as the convener and chair of the meeting join other nations to press on Yaoundé to begin urgent and inclusive dialogue the end the crisis
They recognized the need for urgent humanitarian assistance and call on both sides to cease hostilities