Southern Cameroonians protesting in South Korea, against military excesses in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions
By Danjuma Mungfu Bongi
On the side-lines of the Major National Dialogue in Cameroon aimed at addressing the ongoing Anglophone Crisis, Cameroonians of Anglophone origin who identify as Southern Cameroonians living in South Korea have staged a protest denouncing the rampant military excesses in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.
Protesting on October 1, the day set aside to celebrate Southern Cameroons’ Independence Day, the Southern Cameroonians denounced the rampant killings and enforced disappearances of suspects by Cameroon’s government forces. The protesters also denounced the burning of houses by Cameroon government forces, a practice that has left thousands of English-speaking Cameroonians homeless in the middle of a raging armed conflict. Hundreds of villages have been burnt down as a result of the crisis.
Social media videos and photos of the protest show protesters carrying placards denouncing the war. Some equally carried images depicting gruesome abuses blamed on government officers who are using blanket punishment to go after separatist fighters and the general population at large.
“They have burnt our homes, killed our brothers and forced some of us to flee and leave everything behind. Some of us cannot even go back again, because they (soldiers) hunt and kill our people like animals. It is pure luck that some of us even escaped from the country and are here today. All our people wanted was a change, and it is their right to ask for something better, but the Cameroon government in its response came only with brute force and started killing us. We want the international community to start up for Southern Cameroonians. We deserve better”, one of the protesters who spoke to The Post on condition of anonymity said.
Asked whether they are not afraid of being targeted when they visit Cameroon, for participating in an anti-government protest, our source said most of them who participated in the protest were actively being hunted before they fled from the country. He said others joined them because they know that just their complaining and being abroad already put them on the government’s “blacklist”.
Of recent, the government of Cameroon has gone after English-speaking Cameroonians living abroad, accusing most of them of sponsoring separatist fighters on the ground, to aid them in fighting government forces in a bid to create an independent state for English-speaking regions of the country, now referred to by fighter and activists as Ambazonia. The move has seen many English-speaking Cameroonians who live abroad, arrested on their return to the country. This has forced many to stay away for fear of being arrested. Some who brave the odds to come home for a visit, travel through Nigeria and then smuggle themselves in through the wide border shared by the two countries. This helps to reduce the chances of their presence being noticed and the chances of officials tracking and arresting them.
First published by The Post Newspaper