Monthly News Update: Southern Cameroons - May 2019

BY PHEDRA NEEL, RESEARCH ASSOCIATE PILPG-NL

THIS POST COLLECTS UPDATES FROM THE PAST MONTHS CONCERNING RELEVANT DEVELOPMENTS IN SOUTHERN CAMEROON. THE INFORMATION IS DRAWN FROM LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL ONLINE SOURCES.

International reactions

American Senate adopts Resolution on Cameroon

The American Senate has adopted a Resolution in which it expresses its concern regarding the worsening of the socio-political situation in Cameroon. In particular, the Senate is concerned about the Anglophone crisis and the detention of political opposition. It calls upon the Cameroonian government to respect all human beings and their rights, regardless of their political beliefs. It urges the Cameroonian government and the separatist fighters to engage in a peaceful dialogue in order to find a solution for the conflict. [May 10, 2019]

US pleased with UNSC meeting on Cameroon

The United States’ Assistant Secretary for African affairs, Tibor Nagy, welcomes that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held an informal meeting on the humanitarian crisis in Cameroon. Just like his colleagues, Nagy called for both parties to start an inclusive dialogue, to respect international humanitarian law and the protected status of aid workers. [May 15, 2019]

Nagy accuses Cameroonian government of not handling the crisis correctly

Only a day after the UNSC meeting, Nagy, said that the Cameroonian government has done nothing to handle the crisis in the North West and South West regions. This statement follows Nagy’s visit to Cameroon last month. Nagy now asks the American government to double their efforts and commitment to find a solution for the crisis. [May 16, 2019]

Nagy: “Independent state of Ambazonia is not a realistic solution”

Tibor Nagy, said the US should not have talks about the possibility of an independent Ambazonia as a solution to the Anglophone crisis, but should rather pressure the government of Cameroon to initiate dialogue. He criticized the government’s handling of the crisis and said sanctions could be imposed on Cameroon if the government fails to open a broad dialogue. Nagy believes prefers dialogue because “both the North West and South West have a sense of Cameroonianess and it is in the view of America to recognize the integrity of Cameroon.” [May 17, 2019]

Cameroonians will no longer need a visa to travel to the US

Mike Pompeo announced that inhabitants from Cameroon and several other African States will no longer need a visa to travel to the US for several purposes. This aims to strengthen US-African relations in the fight on terrorism. [May 16, 2019]

Francophonie commits to help Cameroon

TheSecretary-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, Louise Mushikiwabo, met with President Biya last Friday. Mushikiwabo told reporters that his organization would accompany Cameroon to mitigate concrete security hot spots. [May 26, 2019]

France expresses concern about Anglophone crisis

The French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, expressed concern about the socio-political unrest taking place in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon, highlighting that France has been urging President Biya to find a lasting solution. Jean-Yves Le Drian added that “France, the European Union, and the United Nations are doing everything to push Paul Biya to take concrete steps in redressing the crisis” and that he is “very concerned about the situation of the international jurist and CRM leader, Maurice Kamto.” [May 29, 2019]

Extrajudicial killings

Four-month-old baby killed

On May 20th, a baby of four months was killed. The family accuses governmental forces of shooting the baby in the head. The death of the four-month-old baby has provoked anger and condemnation. [May 21, 2019]

The following day, the government denied accusations and blamed armed separatists. A video of the incident circulating on the internet was dismissed as a ‘well-staged drama aimed at manipulating public opinion and to once again throw the blame on the Cameroonian defense and security forces.’ [May 22, 2019]

The Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa condemned the killing, arguing that it violates international law.[May 29, 2019]

Teacher beheaded

Unidentified men beheadeda teacher from the Government Bilingual High School Nitop around Mobile Nkwen. Several armed groups have denied responsibility for the murder. In a communiqué signed on Wednesday, the Governor of the North West region, Adolphe Lele L’Afrique, said security forces have launched an operation to recover the body as well as to identify the perpetrators of the act. [May 23, 2019] 

Man shot in Bamenda

A video on social media shows the body of a 35-year old man with his head apparently shattered from gunshots, lying on the road at the Mile 90 neighborhood. Sources say the man was on his way to work in the morning when soldiers arrivedinthe neighborhood and opened fire, which resulted in the killing of the man and burning of bikes. Residents were forced to flee while a narrator in the video says that at least two persons escaped into the bushes with bullet wounds. [May 23, 2019]

The extrajudicial killing of popular bike rider

A bike rider, identified as Meboka, was reportedly shot in a neighborhood in Kumba. Sources say the deceased is suspected to have been an informant of separatist fighters in the locality. [May 24, 2019]

Two human heads discovered in North West region

Two heads were discovered in Meluf in the North West Region of Cameroon. According to local sources, the heads belonged to armed separatist fighters and the act was committed by men in uniform Thursday, May 30th. These claims are yet to be confirmed and the bodies have not been found. [May 31, 2019]

Destruction of civilian property

Hospital attacked by governmental forces

On Friday 10thMay, governmental forces allegedly attacked the Presbyterian hospital in Kumba targeting two secessionists who were in this hospital for treatment of their wounds. In their search they threatened the medical staff and accused them of collaborating with the secessionists. [11 May]

Church, clinic and houses burnt by military men in Alachu (North West Region)

After Ambazonian fighters killed two soldiers, their military colleagues tried to take revenge, whereby a clinic, a church and several houses caught fire. President Biya expressed his sympathy with the victims and promised compensation. [May 16, 2019]

Following this, a commission was established to identify victims, assess the material damageandhumanitarian needs of people in the Muwatchu, Matsam and Alachu neighborhoods in Bamenda. The Minister of Defence Joseph Beti Assomo said investigations have been opened to determine the perpetrators of the acts. [May 18, 2019]

Nine killed, houses and shops burnt down in Esu

Sources say the killings and destruction followed gun battles between Cameroonian defense, security forces and Ambazonian fighters. “Most of the bodies were only discovered later after soldiers had left the area. The military fired gunshots shattering windows and damaging equipment at the Esu health center…” a local claimed. [May 24, 2019]