By Joseph Ekaney in Buea
Some eight Anglophone youths believed to be supporters of the Ambazonia independence struggle have reportedly disappeared after security operatives in the South West region launched a manhunt of them, human rights campaigners have said.
The eight youths were amongst dozen others programmed for arrest after taking part in a strike action staged on October 1, 2017, a day residents of the former state of Southern Cameroons usually celebrate their Independence Day.
The youths came under the spyglass of security forces following days of protests which turned violent against the use of French in courts and schools in English-speaking parts of Cameroon.
Cameroon’s National Human Rights Commission had earlier raised concerns over the whereabouts of some of the youth arrested.
The protesters had staged a strike action in support of Common law Lawyers and Anglophone Teachers.
They had also expressed frustration with the poor road networks and limited water supply in the city, amongst others.
But their efforts met with police brutality as live bullets, tear gas and water cannons were used on them.
Over half a dozen of the protesters, we learned were killed during the protest but government sources counted just four deaths.
Azong Chigh Felix, was among the eight Anglophone youths being targeted for arrest, family sources disclosed.
He was last seen on October 6 and till date his exact whereabouts remains unknown.
Several rounds of investigations by Atlantic Chronicles could not ascertain the exact whereabouts of Azong Felix.
We however gathered that he has been on the run like other protesters for fear of the unknown.
If arrested and charged, Azong Felix is likely to face a life sentence.
It should be recalled that in January 2017, the government of Cameroon through the ministry of territorial administration and decentralization banned activities of several pro-independence bodies such as the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) and the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Societies Consortium (CACSC), a group that began clamouring for the respect of the rights of Anglophones.
According to the Director of Human is Right, Mr. Chamango Blaise Aime, “the current human rights abuses by the Cameroon government on the Anglophone community in Cameroon are alarming and pathetic. Human Is Right is alarmed by recent actions of the Cameroon government engaging in various forms of intimidation against the Anglophone community, including the use of brute force, lethal weapons, intimidation, arbitrary arrest, imprisonment, disappearance to resolve the peaceful civil disobedience crisis. As active human rights activists, we join the rest of the Anglophone community and all civil society actors engaged in the promotion and protection of human rights to call for an end to these sorts of fear tactics, which have no place in modern society”.
He added that “the Respect for fundamental human rights is a key tenet of any democratic society and one which all countries must strive to achieve. It is critical that the government of Cameroon recognize and protect the rights of every citizen, regardless of background. We therefore strongly urge the government to end violent attacks on protesters, ease media restrictions, put an end to judicial irregularities in the court system, and restore Internet in the English speaking regions of Cameroon”.