After realizing with dismay the effectiveness of the strike action taken in anglophone Cameroon; despite the complete shutdown of internet services, and the abduction of leaders of the Anglophone Consortium by security operatives, the government and its proteges have resorted to the use of genocidal language and tactics, as a last resort to frustrate the current strike action.
This was the substance of a meeting championed by former Prime Minister, Peter Mafany Musonge in the southwestern regional capital of Buea on February 2nd. Just as the famous Radio Television Milles Collines emitted hate speech, calling on Hutus to annihilate Tutsi in the days of the Rwandan genocide, Musonge and other speakers at the occasion used rhetoric aimed at dividing anglophones. The message was attack north-westerners, their properties, and their businesses, in every part of the southwest. Reminiscent of the Rwandan genocide, they compared anglophones from the northwest to the enemies in the house like Milles Collines described minority Tutsis as cockroaches that needed to be annihilated.
To these men and women, anglophones from the northwest who are derogatorily called Bamenda people are the cause of all the hardship they are suffering in the southwest. Sending the Bamenda people away will clear the way for south-westerners, whom they described as peace loving people, to take their destiny in their hands and forge ahead on the path of development. Musonge himself was categorical; it is time for the southwest to take its destiny back, after it was hijacked by violent Bamenda people. While another apostle of the regime, Nnoko Mbelle, went so far as to invite all southwest elites to create vigilante groups in their communities and flush out north-westerners.
Tens of plain clothed security officers have been dispatched to the northwest and southwest. They have infiltrated every street corner and are conducting mass abductions of anglophones suspected of having anything to do with the strike. Just voicing a word about the strike action or having the phone number of known activists can land you into trouble. Two weeks ago, two men travelling from the northwest to Yaoundé, the capital, were arrested around Bafoussam because one of them received a text message about the anglophone problem and shared it with his friend. A worker of a popular interurban bus agency in Kumba, the economic nerve center of the southwest region, has gone into hiding after the phone number of prominent activist Mancho Bibixy, who has been arrested, was found in his phone. It was discovered that he had been communicating with other anglophone activists. A few days ago, the spouse of a famous activist based abroad was accosted by a plain clothed officer because of the noise she was making on Facebook.
As said by one university lecturer (name withheld) who is a specialist in the domain, government action is instead fueling the strike action and hardening the positions of anglophones. It is well known that leaders of the current anglophone movements are sourced from both northwest and southwest regions. Examples include Agbor Balla and Tapang Ivo from the southwest and Tassang and Bobga from the northwest. Moreover, the use of force on unarmed people has led to the promotion of anglophone nationalism. No force or military has ever defeated a people, and it has been proven that prison cells have given birth to many activists and radicals. The government can only help Cameroonians by returning to open dialogue.
In Cameroon, anglophones are the minority and are indigenous to two of the ten regions; the southwest and northwest. Sometime in October lawyers in these two regions, otherwise known as common law lawyers, went on an indefinite strike action because of the erosion of their legal system by the French system practiced in francophone Cameroon. Later on teachers also joined, claiming the government is gradually annihilating the Anglo-Saxon system of education. Leaders of the strike action have been arrested but some are in hiding. Meanwhile the government has used force and abduction. For three weeks now the two anglophone regions have been deprive of internet services. The international community is calling on the government to reopen dialogue and the church has offered to mediate the crisis.