Just when we thought we had seen the worst of human rights violations against unarmed civilians–innocent men, women and children, young and old– in the Anglophone region of Cameroon (Southern Cameroon), a government official, the Napoleonic Prefect of Manyu Division, Mr. Oum II Joseph, proved that there are no depths to which a regime desperately clinging to power, and resisting change at all costs, can sink.
The Prefect issued a brazen order hours ago, expelling poor, powerless, men, women and children en masse from 14 villages in Akwaya, Eyumojock, and Mamfe sub-divisions. Oum II ordered the expellees to “relocate to safer neighborhoods.” He gave the people only hours to pack and set off on a journey to nowhere! Mr. Oum continued that those who did not leave their villages in a matter of hours will be treated as terrorists. Goodness gracious! The Biya government wants these poor villagers to move en masse to which “safer neighborhoods” in the equatorial rain forest?
Oum Joseph’s, mass expulsion order is a clear crime against humanity. It is illegal collective punishment against innocent people for the killing, by unknown persons, of soldiers in the area this week. There is no doubt that this mass expulsion order comes from the top national security brass that met in Yaoundé yesterday, Friday December 1, 2017 on orders of President Paul Biya. These mass expulsions and population movements are very reminiscent of expulsions that accompanied mass killings in Rwanda, Bosnia and currently, Burma! In his intransigence, Biya refuses to learn from history.
This very week when the world was scandalized by images of Africans being sold like cattle in Libya, the Cameroon government is deliberately expelling its own citizens from their homes and villages, and transforming them into refugees. The world needs to know the diabolical activities perpetrated by the Biya regime on innocent, unarmed men, women and children.
Where, oh where, are the political and traditional leaders of Akwaya, Eyumojock, and Mamfe? By their collective silence, the following leaders acquiesce to this evil and stand accused before the bar of history for being accomplices to this horrendous crime against humanity: Governor Tanjong, Senator Chief Tabetando, Senator Simon Anja, MP Susan Okpu, MP Elias Igelle, Minister Victor Mengot. Ladies and gentlemen, Cameroon is watching you, the world is watching you. Wole Soyinka said that those who keep silent in the face of evil, die! Are you going to lie down and die and let your poor innocent people perish or become refugees for life?
Instead of expelling poor people from their villages, the Cameroon government should convene a meeting to resolve this long-simmering Anglophone problem. This is a political problem that should be solved politically. The military option will never solve the problem, it will just aggravate it.
The Chinese general, military strategist and philosopher, Sun Tzu said that “victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” That describes the Biya government. Having failed to govern, and manage the Anglophone crisis, it has aggravated it and chosen to go to war with innocent men, women and children… poor destitute villagers. That is the sign of a defeated army. With gross human rights violations like these, the Anglophone problem will ultimately sweep the Biya regime to the trash heap of history. It is now only a matter of time.