Fidelity bank banner Bayelsa State banner
Cameroon escalates military crackdown on Anglophone separatists •Orders thousands of villagers to leave

By News Express on 07/12/2017

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon Share on Google+

Views: 713

•Veteran Cameroonian President Paul Biya
•Veteran Cameroonian President Paul Biya

Cameroon’s government has ordered thousands of villagers to leave their homes in the Anglophone Southwest region as it deploys troops to root out armed separatists who have vowed to loosen President Paul Biya’s long grip on power.

The deployment marks an escalation of Biya’s year-long crackdown on peaceful protests in the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions that has killed dozens of civilians and forced thousands to flee their homes in fear of reprisals.

Now, the government is using force to confront an insurgency that has sprung up alongside the civil unrest.

The separatists have killed at least eight soldiers and policemen over the past month as part of their campaign to break from the capital Yaounde in Francophone Cameroon and form a separate state called Ambazonia.

Authorities of the Manyu Division in the Southwest on Dec. 1 gave the order to evacuate 16 villages across the region. They warned that anyone deciding to stay “will be treated as accomplices or perpetrators of ongoing criminal occurrences.”

Motorbikes, a preferred mode of transport for separatist attackers, were ordered off the roads between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.

“People ran helter skelter when they saw the statement,” said Agbor Valery, a lawyer in Mamfe, which is near some of the evacuated villages. He said people were afraid of being rounded up and put in jail, as has happened since September in other areas of the English-speaking part of the country.

“If you go to the villages, everyone has fled. Only the old people stayed. The streets are quiet. It is highly militarised. At night, you hear gunfire.”

Valery said he saw hundreds of troops and truck loads of military equipment arrive in Mamfe on Sunday that were then deployed to the surrounding villages.

Reuters was unable to independently verify his account but two military sources in the city of Bamenda in Northwest region confirmed that additional security forces have been deployed in the English-speaking regions.

PROBLEMS FOR BIYA

The separatist movement compounds problems for 84-year-old Biya, who has ruled Cameroon since 1982 and plans to stand for another term next year. The economy has slowed sharply since 2014, while attacks in the Far North region by Islamist militant group Boko Haram have strained the military.

The fall last month of Zimbabwe’s leader Robert Mugabe after decades in power highlights the potential vulnerability of Africa’s long serving rulers amid a growing grassroots push for strict term limits for presidents.

Last week Biya vowed to flush out secessionists, whom he called “criminals”. Defense minister Joseph Beti Assomo said on Monday the new deployment would “prevent terrorists from harming others”.

Violence has spiraled since last year when government forces crushed peaceful protests by Anglophone teachers and lawyers protesting their perceived marginalisation by the French-speaking majority.

The heavy-handed government response fuelled support for the separatist movement, which has existed on the fringes of Cameroonian politics for decades.

The response has also forced thousands out of their homes. More than 5,000 have fled Anglophone Cameroon across the border to Nigeria since Oct. 1, the United Nations said. Nigeria is also English speaking.

The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) said it is making preparations for up to 40,000 refugees.

“GO HOME TO WHERE?”

Refugees’ stories have been slow to emerge because of government-imposed internet outages that have blocked messaging and social media sites like Facebook and Whatsapp. But they are beginning to shed light on what new refugees will likely face.

Abia David told Reuters that he left Bamenda in Northwest Cameroon on Oct. 27 amid widespread arrests in the town. He heard from friends that the police were coming to arrest him because he is a member of an opposition political group.

To escape Bamenda, and avoid its increasingly crowded jail, he cycled 16 kilometers into the countryside to the head of a bush road. From there he walked some 100 km (62 miles) alone north through a series of remote villages towards Nigeria.

“There was no time to carry food. I had one change of clothes but I lost that.”

He slept on strangers’ floors and arrived in Nigeria a week later, where he fell ill with malaria. He said NGOs on the border had estimated an extra 1,000-odd people had arrived since the weekend.

The UNHCR is offering provisions like mosquito nets and is helping refugees find housing. So far there is no central camp for refugees and they rely on the hospitality of Nigerians for room and board.

For David, it beats going home. Asked if he planned to return, he said: “Go home to where? Go home to be killed? To go to jail without trial? I can only go back once this is resolved.” (Reuters)

Source News Express

Posted 07/12/2017 2:05:46 PM

 

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon Share on Google+


 

CLASSIFIED ADS

 

You may also like...
News Express scores 100 over 100 as Jonathan...

National Conference releases list of committee members

Human slaughter house discovered in Ibadan •Police recover...

Organisers celebrate success of first International Reggae Day...

Property worth millions of naira destroyed in Rivers...

Youths, women protest against planned relocation of Brass...

FG to unveil new national aviation policy in...

Nigerian youths as self-enemies, By Bolaji Abdullahi

Constituency Projects: How proper planning can douse tension...

MTN returns to profit-making after turbulent 2016

Femi Falana recommends transfer of Sambo Dasuki’s case...

Ondo poll: PDP faction threatens INEC

 

Latest News Buhari’s biggest hurdles ahead 2019 polls PDP shops for consensus presidential candidate Battle for Saraki’s seat hots up Ohanaeze warns IPOB, urges Ndigbo to intervene Oyo 2019: Political heavyweights regroup under Obasanjo’s ADC to unseat APC Investors lament woes in Lagos Free Zone Uproar as Satan worshippers unveil statue in America Baby with brain tumor recovers miraculously after kiss from Pope Francis Love struck 98-year-old man walks 6 miles each way daily to visit paralysed wife in the hospital Okowa calls for collective efforts to check irregular migration Kofi Annan’s death a loss to Africa and the entire world, says Bola Tinubu Magu’s Chief of Staff not under investigation — EFCC

 

Most Read NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (378,677 views) Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (367,203 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (296,965 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (242,332 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (223,268 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (217,443 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (192,993 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (175,198 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (159,893 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (158,724 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (153,022 views) Gunmen kill ASP, 2 other police officers in vain bid to kidnap Rivers PDP chieftain (143,307 views)

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (56) Business & Economy (3,462) Business Verdict (48) Columnists (912) Complaints & Requests (95) Enterprise & Opportunities (207) Entertainment (528) Features (640) Global Business Monitor (295) International (2,278) Interview (162) Live Commentary (28) Love Matters (135) News (38,135) Opinion (1,061) Pidgin (11) Politics (6,096) Religion (826) Sports (1,650) Stock Watch (33) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

CBN banner

Firstmobile banner

 

 

NEWS EXPRESS TV

Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid 2-4 Highlights and Goals

 

APO Group Partner

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera

Advertisement