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Bamenda on the move….again

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Bamenda Cameroon.

Breathtaking images coming from the city of Bamenda, regional capital of the crisis hit North West region are once again seizing the national discourse and dominating political debates

scenes of over crowded parks on the eve of back to school emigrating from a town Which built it’s reputation as an education hub are reminiscent of those in September 2018 when seccecionist declared the first ever 10 days lockdown in the affected regions and send hundreds of thousands to other safer cities

 

many once again have taken the roads with their families as government life-sentencing of the leaders of the Ambazonia movement has sparked outrage from ground fighters and their backers.

Ambazonia activists have rallied in a rare show of unity to rollout a comprehensive calendar of multiple lockdowns beginning Monday August 26th in the two English speaking regions of the country as sign of disapproval of the verdict

Multiple ghosts towns spanning months punctauated with audio messages filled with death threats from ground fighters have forced many to flee the regions especially the city to Bamenda to seek refugee in “francophone” cities.

The latest massive outpouring of population from Bamenda once again  brings the light to complexity of the Angliphone crisis a many had warned the timing of the Verdict and the procedure risk plunging the regions into further chaos.

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Cameroon

Nera10 cracks: Julius Tabe and 8 others vomit Tassang from prison

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9 incarcerated Ambazonian leaders including Julius Ayuk Tabe vomits Wilfred Tassang for going after Kamto

In a disclaimer signed by all 9 leaders, they expressly states that the views expressed by Tassang on February 12 2020 are solely that of Wilfred Tassang and they continue to have utmost respect for prof Maurice Kamto as main opposition leader in the country and reaffirm their commitment and their resolve to fight for the independent state of Southern Cameroons

The move comes following  a strongly worded message from Tassang in his Kondengui cell. Deacon Wilfred Tassang on Feb 12th 2020 accused Maurice Kamto, National President of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement party of seeking Anglophone’s help to unseat the Head of State Paul Biya so as to further enslave them.

“Concerning LRC’s Wonderboy, I tell you Ambazonia, run away from him. We have not been able to get Chairman Fru Ndi to endorse the restoration quest, how think us that we can do so with a Kamto? The man doesn’t even flatter us, he doesn’t think we are worth humouring…” Wilfred Tassang said.

This is the first time the group of 10 (famously known as Nera10) famously arrested at Nera Hotel,Nigeria and flown to Cameroon two years  back are demonstrating open disagreement to the public

The cracks within the leaders in the dungeon will further pour cold water to any hopes of future independent state of southern Cameroons

Their rock solid unity in prison  had been consoling to many of their followers who are already tired of the infighting among the diaspora leadership, financial scandal and tumbling authority on ground zero.

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Cameroon

A must Read: A Journey To Fiango by John Agbor

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I sat down with some friends after the week’s hustle at the Mile 17 Park in Buea, the town of legendary hospitality as they call it today. We were all excited, taking a dosage of some beer despite the hustle and bustle of the Friday afternoon; I looked at my bottle, quizzed, as I swallowed down every bit of its content, pondering how beer had become such a consolation. I shook my head after finding no answers, but then I waved at the beautiful woman in her blue apron serving Achu, hoping to have a piece of the North West delicacy, which I have missed.  As she brought my food, my friend Ngomba, who had been in Douala all this while and was in Buea because we had a huge deal to finalise asked my opinion about the current socio-political crisis, which has fed into every marrow in the North West, and South West Regions. I looked at Ngomba for a few seconds same time looking at a beautiful damsel smiling with me across the table which appeared to me as an invitation. Well, I told my friend Ngomba, ‘it is a large double edged sword’ reflecting on the impact of the crisis especially on women and girls and innocent young men in the military and the bushes who have lost their lives in the course of the crisis. Ngomba smiled with some load of depression and said; ‘truly only God knows how and when this will end’.  He ordered his plate of Achu with extra vegetable, egusi pudding and meat saying ‘Mammy no forget for put pepper’. For a moment, I did not completely enjoy my Achu as I was focused on the amount of persons on transit with all type of loads; beds, baskets, boxes, bags with some seeming to have nowhere to go to.  This brought memories of a film I watched some years back; ‘Tears of the Sun’ set on the Cameroon Nigeria Border of Ekok. Edibe who had observed me for the last 5 minutes said ‘Ma broad if you want start think dis matter you go confuse, chop make we go’

Kumba!, Kumba!, Kumba! ‘Wuna cam make we go Fiango, na Fiango di win, na Fiango di win’ the driver shouted at the top of his voice. My friends laughed at his gesture but I felt an urge to visit Kumba, I felt I had just watched a touristic campaign for Kumba, so I suggested to Ngomba and Edibe, we visit Kumba at least go to Fiango which was like the ID for Kumba. Ngomba laughed and said he has not used the road for three years and was overwhelmed by the horrific stories he heard from media and internally displaced persons, which he called IDPs with style. Ngomba said it was a risky voyage and he was not ready for any adventures. I told him I had not also visited the area since 2014 but still have some fun memories following my last visit during a colleague’s wedding. Edibe agreed and said he knows of a patriarch we could visit and spend quality time before returning to Buea. ’We finished our loads of Achu; settled for another bottle and together decided to hit the road, Kumba here we come.

As we were about to exit Muea, we met a mixed security control post, every one of them dressed in full gear, Ngomba asked me if it was SWAT, and we laughed about it…. ‘Bonjour’ the young officer greeted, presented himself and demanded our ID cards, which we all presented. He looked at each card and looked back at every one of us with a grilled look and asked why we were just 3 in the car, Edibe said we are going to visit his grandfather and we have to come back to Buea and we could not wait for the bus. He nodded his head and we continued our journey, 200 meters we met another security control post, same procedure this time no one spoke to us apart of ‘You Carte’. Ngomba asked the driver if this was a routine on the road, the driver laughed and said ‘Grand we get like 4 again for front, if we lucky se na boy dem too no stop we’. That last phrase send chills down our spines but there was no going back we had to get to Fiango.

Arriving Kumba it was business as usual and no one seem to be under any pressure and we felt truly ‘Na Fiango d win’. We decided to stop at a bar for a cool off, we ordered some beer but the bar tender said ‘We no di sell dat beer for here’ Edibe asked why and also where he could get it. The bar tender whispered to him ‘Grand if you continue for ask that mimbo dem go consider you like blackleg’. ‘Blag leg’ is used by members of the Non State Armed Groups (NSAG) to people who did not respect or support their cause. We settled for some another brand and wondered why the other was forbidden. As we discussed the issue, the bar tender came again and whispered to Edibe ‘Grand if wuna continue di tok for here, wuna go enter shock ohh’ we all were silent for about a minute, then Ngomba lamented and wished he had not made the journey; citing the  many security posts, now feeling like a fugitive and not able to have his favourite beer. Edibe calmed him down and asked the driver to move us to Fiango to meet the patriarch.

As we entered the residence of Pa Ngalison, in Fiango, we realised he was almost alone in the neighbourhood with his closest neighbour meters away. He welcomed us and asked Edibe ‘you loss na road’  Edibe smiled and said ‘No Pa na se na work’. Pa Ngalison went in and returned with a bottle of whisky and said, ‘I hope se wuna get power for try this one, una know se dem no d sell that wuna mimbo fo ya nor’  We looked at each other in dismay and that was when I asked Pa Ngalison why. Pa Ngalison said since the start of the crisis, it was banned by the NSAG and anyone caught selling them was punished, ‘Punished’ Ngomba asked. ‘Yeah punishment, no be small one oh’ Pa Ngalison admitted; they will either burn your business, kidnap a member of your family or do something terrible. Ngomba shook his head and poured some whisky into our glasses, we made a toast to Pa Ngalison who was old but still very active, who was still at his home even though everyone had left the building. Edibe said ‘Pa you be strong man, if na me, I for don comot here’ Pa Ngalison said; ‘Yeah because may be you have a place to go to, what about those who don’t have anywhere to go to’. Pa Ngalison told us more than 40 villages have been burnt down in the North West and South West Region, people have been burnt in their houses, young people have been killed while some young girls have become sex slaves. Pa recounted a story of a woman whom he helped for close to three months, he said she had four children, no money and no food not to even talk of a house. Her husband was arrested by the military and she has never heard a word from him. Their village was burnt and she trekked to Kumba. This story left us speechless and wondered the troubles this woman must have gone through. PA Ngalison laughed, saying ‘that one na small case oh’ . He told us of abductions by both parties to the conflict, killings; rape and all sort of horrible things, which at some point came to us like a horror movie. Ngomba at some point asked Pa Ngalison, ‘all d tin dem happen for here’. Pa Ngalison smiled and said, ‘Ma pikin day wey you sleep, u no heaya gun, know se u no dey kumba again’…’Some day we di wake up see na die body for road’.  At this point, we were all fixed and numb like we were watching a horror movie. Then I mustered the courage to ask Pa Ngalison what he thinks about the crisis. He said ‘My pikin na strong question that, but for me I think se dis pipo weh di fight no know why dem di fight and why dem get for fight, we contri get all tin but everibodi d suffer… oh I di sorry for wuna young pipo… I tried to get his point of view but it was difficult, Pa Ngalison was very metaphorical, he went on to tell us pleasant stories of young Edibe and how Kumba used to be lively and the business centre of  Meme. We emptied the bottle of whisky, offered Pa Ngalison 100,000 frs and thanked him for hosting us. He wished us journey mercies, thanked for the money we gave him, saying it will help him look after IDPs who come to his neighbourhood.

We left for Buea and no one offered a word for almost 35 minutes, I guess we were all having our moments of silence, thinking about the stories Pa Ngalison had told us about the crisis. The driver looked at the rear mirror and asked why we were all quiet and if the stories we heard were shocking. I  told him they were very shocking and unbelievable and he said ‘heh Grand dat one weh Pa tell wuna so na supporting ohhhh wonderful kind tin dem don happen for d crisis’ as he was about to start recounting his own episode Edibe and Ngomba asked him to keep it to himself. As we approached Malende, a young man stood on the road with a gun pointed at our car, with a hand gesture to stop, we all panicked but the driver asked us to put on our seat belts as he is about to hit his nitro. The driver accelerated and almost crushed the young man who left the road following the speed of our car, as we passed we heard some gunshots behind us. The driver told us that area is noted for such activities, we asked him why he did not stop… he laughed and said ‘grand! God di gi man sense na one time ohhhh’. Ngomba for once became religious, he made the sign of the cross and murmured some words which was rather a comic relief to I and Edibe as we had never heard Ngomba prayed.

We got to Buea at about 7:45 pm and decide to continue to Limbe to ease off from the entire trauma of our journey to Kumba. As we drove to Limbe, Ngomba who loved listening to the news tuned to a local radio station and the first words from the reporter was; More than 20 persons including children have been reported dead following gun battle between the Military and NSAG in the North West Region… Edibe immediately changed the station and saying, ‘enough of bad news, I Hope this crisis can just come to an end.

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Cameroon

Ngarbuh attack: Yaounde is restless as separatists ‘weaponize’ the killings

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Condemnation and outrage has poured in from all over the world as the government looks confused, desperate and frustrated over the attack which took place in Ngarbuh, Ndu, North West region of Cameroon

News of scores of civilians killed including at least 14 children and pregnant women according to rights groups have put the country’s 4 years old crisis on the international spotlight like never before, torched the conscience of the world attracting major news channels around the world and angering diplomats and humanitarian

Barely hours, after the world was waking up to the excesses of celebrating a day of love-Feb 14th 2020, heart-breaking images of scores of people killed in Cameroon once again, reminded the world the crisis is far from a national problem

Bishops around the world, UN officials and foreign governments have condemned the act, calling for the government to carry out an independent investigation and perpetrators brought to justice

But the government is in a fixed after denying any killing took place, arguing only five persons were killed due to fire explosion in a family residence, many within the corridors power are struggling to contain the in international pressure and national outcry

The world is beginning to ask serious questions as separatist and activists flash pictures of innocent toddlers reportedly killed by a gun, leaving Yaoundé with no easy way out as damage control mechanism are being rollout

The killing of children or woman even during wartime is considered by international law as a serious crime and the world frowns at governments and regimes which kills children and women than any other thing.

Nobody seems to be believing the government in Yaoundé and the world continues to call for an investigation with the US embassy issuing a string statement saying ‘the conflict must stop’

Separatists are feeding fat

Ambazonians separatist have seized on the information like never before, activating their seemingly endless social media information machinery, posting and tweeting nonstop ever since the incident took place

Images of an entire family killed have been making rounds on social media with hashtag IAmNgrrbuh trending on twitter as separatist continue to drum out the severity of the alleged crime and calling for the world to intervene

The Ngarbuh attack has given separatist an added impetus for a struggling which has been struggling lately. Coming after recently held municipal and legislative elections despite the imposed shutdown in Anglophone regions for six days and in the back of some impressive military gains against non-state armed fighters.

But the Nggarbuh attack serves as a lifeline especially to their information warfare, given them something to rally the world and give the conflict an international character

Memories of Rwanda genocide were invoked as separatists remind the world about their promise of never Again, the government continues to insist that ONLY FIVE PEOPLE DIED DUE TO ACCIDENT and for now it seems only the government is believing that version of the story

As the world continues to pressure Yaoundé over clarity on what happened on February 14th in a small village in North West region, officials will be hoping that the incident dies naturally overtime on the international scene as the Anglophone crisis continues to set new trends and indeed new standards of barbarism

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