Bamenda – It was an uneasy weekend in the Southern Cameroons as the tug-of-war between the government and the people of Southern Cameroons continue with the government in equal measure, cajoling, begging, threatening and intimidating the people and their representatives of the various movements struggling to free the territory from its unholy alliance that makes it today part of La Republique Du Cameroun (LRC) and as such a part of the French colonial empire in Africa.
On Friday January 13, government ministers had gone up to Bamenda to hold talks with the teacher’s representative aimed at getting schools in the Southern Cameroons to reopen. The talks had been moved up to Up-station Bamenda, at the governors conference rooms in hopes that the population will have little means to apply pressure to the negotiators as they had been able to do when the Prime Minister first came to the talks held down town Bamenda, at the Ayaba hotel. Then, close to a thousand people had surrounded the hotel and had been able to disrupt and made their voices heard when they felt their interest were being brushed aside.
With the governors residence backstopped by a sheer stony mountain and situated between the headquarters of LRC Army and Gendarme barracks in Bamenda, not to talk of a police post in front of it, not only had the regime thought that what happened at Ayaba hotel will never repeat itself, but also that, representatives of the teachers will feel the weight of the government on their shoulders.
As the Friday meeting went on and on and on, tension and in equal measure anxiety, began rising in Bamenda town and news started flying through social media with a mixture of solid facts, rumors and speculation. As evening turned into night, one rumor gained currency, that the teacher’s representatives were being held in the conference room at gun point and being forced to sign doctored documents accepting a deal concocted by the government.
If the government had any illusion that their actions of animal brutality and sheer viciousness on the people of Southern Cameroons since the beginning of the current strike action, if the regime’s representatives and the governor of Bamenda thought that the placement of its office and the presence of hundreds of Gendarmes and Army and police, not to talk of the fact that station is on top of a hill that could easily be cutoff from downtown Bamenda, if they thought that these were impediments that were insurmountable for the people of Southern Cameroons, that thought was quickly dispelled as within minutes of the rumor going out, the hills were flooded with angry people swarming Up-station in a bid to free the “hostages” and make sure that they are not once more victims of “sellouts.”
As the bend-skin drivers, the true heroes of what is going on right now in the Southern Cameroons streets, fearless citizens who have taken on the role of protectors of the people and guardian of their interests in terms of putting pressure on the negotiators not to accept any poisoned deals while simultaneously putting their lives on the line as they protect the negotiators, demonstrated by their reaction when they heard they were being held hostages, as a group of them break for Station that night to free the teachers, another group went the other way to Ntarikon. There, they roust the leader of the Social Democratic Front, Mr. Fru Ndi, telling him that he needed to go up to Station and get those “hostages” released, since they would not have been in that untenable position if the original intent at the root of the formation of the SDF to free the people of Southern Cameroons had not been diverted and its mission changed to follow some sort of a dream in Yaounde.
As things calmed down with more accurate information being decimated and the negotiators came out to reassure the masses that they weren’t hostages, the military forces, feeling disrespected by a people who demonstrated no fear of them in how they had stormed an office on their very doorstep, swung into action; they started shooting and beating up the Southern Cameroonian people who had turnout in the dark to protect their people and their interests. It resulted in some serious injuries that put people in the hospital and spark off some rioting in town, resulting in some burnt cars belonging to some government agency. The bend-skin drivers then swung into action, fearing for the safety of the negotiators as they left the Governors office, with the marauding Gendarmes let loose in town, they formed escorts that surrounded each of these leaders, taking them and depositing them right on their doorsteps. The consortium a group supporting the teachers and the lawyers then called for a ghost town in the Southern Cameroons on Monday, January 16.
As concerns the talks, news reaching Abakwa Times is that the government of LRC is ready to accept all the points the teachers have put on the table, the caveat being that they have to call an immediate halt to their strike action. As a sign of good faith, LRC is indicating that they are ready to immediately implement any seven of the fifteen points the teachers had put on the table.
The teachers have refused to bite, instead indicating that the government should first of all wrap up its negotiation with the common law lawyers, and if they reach an agreement, then the teachers and the common law lawyers will put out a joint statement.
As a warning shot across the bow at the intransigence of the teachers, Dr. Fontem Neba, a leader of one of the groups supporting the teachers and lawyers in their struggle with the government of LRC, the Consortium, had his car mysteriously burnt to the ground. In response, a gofund-me campaign was immediately launched by Mr. Tapang Tanku to get a replacement car with the aim of collecting $10,000 US dollars in ten days. A few hours after it went up, the people responded with $13,000 US dollars.