BAMENDA – Events are spiraling out of control in the Southern Cameroons as the people show no signs of bowing to the overwhelming show of brutal force by the paramilitary and military forces of La Republique Du Cameroun (LRC).
Over the weekend, the security forces went on a rampage in the Northern Region of the Southern Cameroons in Bamenda and Jakiri and since then, the bulk of their intimidation and brutality has shifted to the Southern Region, concentrating in the areas of Limbe (Victoria) and Ekona.
Using the power of the treasury, the regime in Yaounde dolled out huge sums of money to its agents – most of Southern Cameroons origin, belonging to Paul Biya’s ruling party the CPDM, with instructions to break the back of the strike action in the Southern Cameroons after money, intimidation, threats and violence failed to move the Teacher Unions off their stance of an Anglo-Saxon educational system for a region whose educational system purports to be Anglo-Saxon.
With these agents making the rounds of the Fon’s and Chief’s palaces in the Southern Cameroons, visiting Francophone (expatriate) teachers and administrators and parents, whose role and those of their kids was to be the avant-garde of the seeming return to school, providing the images for the propaganda the government needed to proclaim the end of the strike.
What they had not counted on was not only the discipline of the Southern Cameroonians to adhere to the strike action, but the vigilance of the people themselves, guardian of the interest of their own destiny and very protective of the fact that as one put it, “you will not come to our house and we tell you the house rules in order to get our house in order and you think that you can break it with impunity.” These guardians, more on them later, imposed the strike action and the “Ghost Town” with a firmness that brought joy to many observers of the Southern Cameroons streets. Their actions, in schools where the show of money and also the nationalistic tendencies of LRC expatriates in the Southern Cameroons had trumped the Southern Cameroons cry for freedom and opened their doors and classrooms, a concerted effort by the organized AGC youths and common people on the streets, left these scabs with a lesson none of them were willing to risk learning again the next day as the strike and ghost towns held firm.
The Regime’s Response.
With all its efforts to sabotage the strike in ruin, the government of LRC came full circle in its response to the grievances of the people of the Southern Cameroons. They had first ignored the teachers and lawyers, then they tried suppression, then a sham negotiation and now, they began again with ignoring. Late Monday, through its spokesperson, Prof. Paul Mingo Ghogomu, Director of Cabinet at the Prime Minister’s office, they sent out a press release effectively withdrawing from any negotiation, putting all the blame on the Southern Cameroonians and indicating that anything that happened to them going forward was of their own doing.
Tuesday, they went into suppression mode as the military swung into action in Limbe and Ekona, brutalizing the people, culminating with the Minister of Territorial administration of LRC declaring a ban of the Consortium, a group that had been backing the strike of the Teachers and the Common Law lawyers and also banning all meetings and gatherings of the Southern Cameroons National Council, a group advocating for the peaceful restoration of the statehood of the Southern Cameroons.
As soon as the ban was read over the regimes own information network, CRTV, the president of the Consortium, Barrister Agbor Balla and its SG, Dr. Fontem Neba, were picked up by the paramilitary of LRC. At the moment of writing this story, their whereabouts are unknown as a family member of Dr. Fontem was unable to see him when he rushed up to the GMI police station in Buea, reputed to be where they were being held hostage.
The Consortium, tipped by a member of LRC, not surprising since many there understand to colonial status of Cameroun with respect to France, swung into plan B, a plan designed for just such an eventuality. They have called for a month long Ghost Town in the Southern Cameroons, named acting members that are in the safe capitals of Europe and the US to be caretakers of the Consortium as they prepare to be taken hostages and “disappeared” in the night by the French and LRC forces.