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Center Seeks Probe into Anglophone Crisis in Cameroun


By Eric Ojo, Abuja
Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA) has called on the Cameroonian government to initiate investigations into protracted violent crisis in the Anglophone Northwest and Southwest Regions of the country.

The Center condemned the killings and public dragging of Anglophones in the Francophone- Bangourain axis of the West Region, adding that government should urgently work with all parties to have a dialogue and end the conflict.

The CHRDA added that it is imperative for the government to immediately intervene and seek justice where necessary, reparation, and reconciliation of parties to the conflicts in order to prevent it from degenerating further.

The Center further alerted government on what it described as an impending hate crime, retaliatory ethnic conflict, indoctrination and violent extremism as a result of cross-regional attacks from armed separatist groups and villagers of affected communities.

In the weekend preceding Christmas day, news from media and individuals reported an arson attack allegedly led by hundreds of armed men (reportedly 300 in number) from Bangolan (in Babessi sub-division in the Northwest Region).

The attack which was targeted at a village in Bangourain, a sub-division in the neighboring Noun Division, allegedly led to the destruction of dozens of houses (reportedly at least 85 affecting over 100 families), the death of at least one person, wounding several others, abduction of at least 15 persons and causing heavy material and financial losses of other infrastructures.

In addition, there was a reprisal attack on Wednesday (a day after Christmas) as alleged by several other sources by residents of the affected neighborhood in Bangourain, where two persons suspected to be arsonists were apprehended, lynched, before being dragged on the ground attached to motor bikes with chains.

Consequently, Cameroonians of all persuasions believe it is time for the government to show compassion and put an end to military operations in both Anglophone Regions for fear that the remnants of the conflict may spread far beyond these Regions and affect a larger group of people.

“The  government’s continuous military operations in the Northwest and Southwest Regions which may be the fuel to the inhuman crimes perpetrated by both the defense and security forces and the armed separatist groups needs to come to an immediate cease fire”, the Center noted.

Similarly, there is a clarion call on both Francophones and Anglophones in the region, according to a statement made available to African Examiner, to exercise restraint and refrain from hate speech and retaliation against one another.

“This hate rhetoric on both sides must come to an end as it reminds us of America in 1998 when James Byrd Jr was killed by lynching and dragged by three white supremacists through the State of Texas. The nation as a whole condemned this repugnant act and found a solution for hate crime.

“Cameroonians are called upon to exhibit togetherness and condemn these happenings as a nation, regardless of their ethnic, religious, political, ideological, cultural or economic denominations”, the statement added.

The statement also observed that the scenes and stories are horrible and should appeal to government’s foresight to begin taking the Anglophone Crisis more seriously and engage in more genuine peace-building processes.

It further noted that Francophones and Anglophones sharing similar boundaries in neighboring localities across Cameroon should exercise restraint and avoid involving themselves in actions that may further endanger human life, cause injuries, destroy private and public property, cause material and financial losses, and aggravate the already preoccupying tensions between the populace, government forces and separatist groups.

 

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