The whereabouts of some eight Anglophone youths believed to be activists of the proscribed Southern Cameroon National Council, SCNC has remained unknown after they were arrested and later freed by security operatives in Wum, Menchum division, human rights campaigners have said.
The eight missing youths were amongst dozen others arrested in September 2021.
They were arrested as they gathered to strategize on staging a public rally on October 1, a Day symbolically observed every year as the Independence Day of the former state of Southern Cameroons, now North West and South West regions.
The Cameroon government had in 2017, in the wake of the ongoing armed conflict in the Anglophone regions banned the activities the SCNC citing threats to the country’s unity.
Since the ban, government forces have regularly clamped down on individuals believed to be supporting the movement which has for years been pushing for the restoration of the statehood of the former state of British Southern Cameroons.
Mai Bama Earnest, we gathered is amongst the several youth currently being targeted for arrest by security forces.
Bama Earnest became a member of the SCNC in 2019. In 2020, he was appointed chairperson of the SCNC in Wum, his place of origin.
Bama has since been playing an active role in organising meetings and protests as well as the celebration of the Southern Cameroons Independence Day on October 1.
Bama, it was gathered, actively took part in distributing tracks, campaign posters for civil disobedience in the area.
This reporter learned that in September 2021, he was targeted, arrested and detained for ten days. His arrest came prior to preparation for the celebration of the Southern Cameroons Independence Day on October 1.
Bama Earnest together with other SCNC activists was arrested on September 25, 2021.
He was apprehended by police officers who invaded his residence with arrest warrant, we are told.
He was pulled out of his house in the presence of his partner and kids.
Bama Earnest, we learned was brutalised and mercilessly tortured in the process.
He was handcuffed before being taken away for detention.
After spending ten days in detention under life threatening conditions, Bama was released on bail. However, his arrest and eventual release didn’t stop him from engaging in SCNC related activities.
Bama is reported to have later fled the area after hints of a fresh arrest.
His exact whereabouts has since remained unknown.
Sources say it is not yet known if Bama had faced extra-judicial killing or is on the run like other Southern Cameroon National Council, SCNC, activists who have been on the run ever since the 40- year old Biya regime began a merciless crackdown on the members of the movement.
The Southern Cameroons National Council, SCNC has been clamouring through peaceful means for the respect of the rights of minority Anglophones.
According to the Director of Human is Right, 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 brutal 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, and put an end to judicial irregularities in the court system…”