Ikome Sako, President of the Ambazonia Interim Government in a online press briefing
The leader of the Ambazonia Interim Government, IG, Samuel Ikome Sako has in a media outing, called on the UN and the international community to grow from just issuing resolutions and condemning atrocities committed in line with the ongoing Anglophone Crisis, to taking affirmative action that will solve problem and avoid unnecessary bloodshed.
He was speaking at an international press conference on May 8, 2023, to update the media on the state of the ongoing war of independence that has pitted pro-Anglophone Independence fighters, Amba fighters against Cameroon government forces since 2017.
At the press conference, Ikome Sako and his team equally addressed the issue of campaigns by other groups for a referendum to be called to decide on the fate of former Southern Cameroons. Here, they said the question of a referendum will be out of place. “You can’t ask for a referendum to decide whether you should be independent if you have been independent before”, he said. He likened it to the case of Ukraine, saying like in Ukraine where Russia has organised referenda to use as justification for taking over the territory, the situation must not be repeated in Southern Cameroons. He said what will solve the problem, will be a negotiated settlement that looks deeply and resolves the underlying problems that have lasted for decades. “We do not need a referendum to tell right from wrong. If the UN thought we were part of La République du Cameroun, they would not have given us a plebiscite,” Ikome Sako said. He furthered that the problem in Southern Cameroons is “rightly a problem of annexation”, and as such, must be solved only through a negotiated settlement.
Asked what the IG will do if the international community and other actors fail to act to bring in reason and end the fighting, Ikome Sako said they intend to keep fighting until reason prevails. He said if the West and international bodies fail the common man trapped in the conflict, they will only be building a time bomb. He said silence will mean support and complicity on the part of the international community and that since ‘dictatorships’ must crumble, it will turn out to be a bad investment for those backing the current system.
Sako regretted that the West has punished several world leaders and issued drastic sanctions for far fewer crimes than what is happening in Anglophone Cameroon. Sako’s IG stated that their own records show that over 50,000 civilians have been killed as a result of the crisis and that over 2 million persons have been displaced as a result of the crisis too.
On the fate of the displaced, he urged Nigeria to keep being a host to those who have fled and are seeking refuge in Nigeria. He also called on the Nigerian government to follow judgements of its courts on issues relating to the Southern Cameroons, like the Abuja High Court Judgement which mandated the Nigerian government to constitute a case before the International Court of Justice, to question the union between the two Cameroons, the manner in which it was done and not properly followed, as well as address the right to self-determination of the Southern Cameroonians. He also urged them to look into the issue of Ambazonian leaders who were arbitrarily taken and whisked to Cameroon, and that a Nigerian court later ruled it as illegal requesting that they be recalled and compensated.
Sako regretted that the government in Cameroon has rejected and pulled out of all attempts to negotiate a way out of the crisis, and as such, nations that take up such initiatives end up frustrated because of the lack of commitment from Cameroonian authorities to sincerely address the problem. He said they are calling on the international community to take the bull by the horns and address the problem frontally, instead of playing around it while lives are perishing continuously.