Amos Fofung (Freelancer)
When news broke that the United States will withdraw aid from Cameroon due to alleged human rights violations, members of Cameroon secessionist movement who are fighting for the establishment of an independent nation for the country’s English-speaking regions, took to social media to celebrate what they say is a big win for them.
In tweets and posts, the activists and advocates for the independence of former British trust territory of Southern Cameroons which elected to joined French Cameroon in 1961, say the sanction on Cameroon is a clear indication that the international community is cognizant of their plight and all what’s taking place in Cameroon.
Among them is US-based activist Tapang Ivo Tanku who commented that “the recent stance by the USA sanctioning Cameroun must not be taken lightly. It will shape the face of the struggle. We win fatly.”
The sanction, commentators hold, will greatly affect the military capabilities of Cameroon as its security forces fight to restore peace in the Anglophone regions and are, at the same time fighting ISIS West Africa, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups while trying to maintain peace and order in its French-speaking regions after bloody protest erupted last week.
On Wednesday, February 6, 2019, CNN reported that “the US government has decided to cut millions in security and military aid to Cameroon amid growing concerns over the Cameroonian government’s human rights record. US officials tell CNN.
The officials said the US intends to “terminate” over $17 million in security aid, including funds for radars, four defender-class patrol boats, nine armored vehicles, training programs for C-130 airplanes and helicopters and the withdrawal of an offer for Cameroon to be a candidate for the State Partnership Program.
This follows persistent calls from various international organizations urging the government of Cameroon to open credible investigations into allege human right abuses. Last year, the US ambassador to Cameroon Peter Henry Barlerin accused Pro-government forces of carrying out “targeted killings, detentions without access to legal support, family, or Red Cross, burning and looting of villages.”
He also accused Anglophone separatists of committing “murders of gendarmes, kidnapping of government officials, and burning of schools.”
To Eric Tataw Tano, journalist turn activist, the “US Congress decision to cut off aid to Cameroon is thanks to…Cameroon American Society, Southern Cameroons Interim government, Barrister Agbor Balla” among others.
Celebrating that it was thanks to their efforts that US Congress took the move, he cited several presentations, meetings, and proposals they made with congressmen and senators.