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The Paradox Of Persecuting Southern Cameroons 

By Azore Opio

CameroonPostline.com — It has been more than 50 years since the “reunification” of French East Cameroun and British Southern Cameroons, or West Cameroon, with its Anglophone indigenes.
 

Perhaps the most memorable thing one can remember about it, the “reunification”,  moreover, with little fondness, is the hunting, haunting and persecution of youths of Southern Cameroons background wishing to make their voices, their feelings and sentiments concerning their desire for what they term “the restoration of their stolen sovereignty” heard.
 

There has been a perplexing paradox in the extreme concern shown by both politicians and State officials for the security of Cameroonian youth who rally up to agitate on what they term their marginalisation, oppression and suppression.
 

The persistent joblessness, electoral fraud, compounded by corruption and wastage have left a people once wealthy and living happily, destitute and frightened out of their wits, so unstable in their daily lives because they live constantly in fear and have to be on the run day and night to avoid ferocious State agents.
 

While politicians pay lip service to the youth as being “the leaders of tomorrow”, and the incumbent leaders often paint a “rosy future” for the youths in their state-of-the nation addresses, the State has no qualms about sending its bloodhounds, as it were, after the youth, especially those who profess belonging to the various Southern Cameroons groups struggling to “emancipate” themselves from the grip of their “brothers” east of the Mungo River that forms a boundary between them. Pride Mbi Agbor is one of several youths who have had their dreams of a free and prosperous future dashed by overzealous Cameroonian security officials.
 

Born in 1984 in Buea, once the capital of the British Southern Cameroons and now the Regional capital of the Southwest Region, Pride Agbor was the son of a staunch Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) one of a number of activist groups campaigning for the equal sharing of the national “reunification”, if not the independence of the former British Protectorate.
 

When Agbor started following in his father’s footsteps; militating in the struggle for self-determination and more respect and dignity, attending SCNC meetings, little did he know that he would sooner than later join the Ebenezer Akwangas (exiled former student leader and President of the Southern Cameroons Youth League (SCYL), in the run for their lives.
 

In 2007, Anderson Kajang Ebai, SCNC Chairman for Buea and Thomas Etoe (SCNC member) were arrested and charged with secessionist activities in the Buea High Court. The two were tortured and detained incommunicado for two weeks; denied food, medical attention and legal advice.

They were finally released without charge or trial but were forced to sign an undertaking to report daily at the Buea Central Police Station. In the same year, Duke Ebogo Titus Ngwa, an SCNC activist, travelling to Cameroon for holidays from Cleveland-Ohio, USA, was arrested by gendarmes in Yaounde for wearing a face cap and a T-shirt bearing the Southern Cameroons logo and flag.
 

Some three years ago, luck, so to speak, turned its back on Pride Agbor when the security operatives stormed a youth meeting which Agbor was attending in Buea. While the operatives brought his comrades under the boot, Agbor slipped through the dragnet and made his escape. From then on until he disappeared, Agbor was stalked like a prey by secret security men. Today, he is floating, searching in places unknown to his widowed mother, for friendly people to provide him with a safe haven.
 

“How time flies! I gave birth to little Pride in the excitement of our youth – my husband Peter and I. My beloved child had grown up. He had matured and I thought he could have some good education, make a living in this big wide competitive world. But now the nest is empty,” laments Pride Mbi Agbor’s mother.
 

Same goes for Elvis Nkafu Nji-Ofor. During the February 2008 hunger crisis, Elvis Nkafu Nji-Ofor, at the tender age of 22, was arrested among dozens of youths, in the street riots in Buea. They were detained and went without food for two days. They literally “bought” their freedom for FCFA 100.000 each.
 

Following a planned strike action in the University of Buea on March 31, 2010, Nkafu Nji-Ofor was again arrested, stripped naked, beaten and detained. He was released after signing an undertaking that he would not take part in any anti-establishment activities again. Not knowing that he was being monitored by the Cameroonian version of the Gestapo, Nkafu started organising demonstrations against the Constitutional Amendment giving President Biya an unlimited term.

The police stormed one of their meetings in the classroom of a primary school in Buea Town and, after beating and kicking him all over the body, he was thrown into the police van and told that, this time around, he will never see the outside world.  He jumped out of the moving police van and ran into the forest up in the mountain. He was helped by a farmer to escape to their family home in Kumba.

Then came the Presidential Election of 2011 and the family home was stormed and he escaped to Mamfe and disappeared into the wilderness. The agonising tales of arbitrary arrests, detentions without trial and sometimes extra-judicial executions of Southern Cameroons activists are endless.
 

First published in The Post print edition no 01392

    One Response to The Paradox Of Persecuting Southern Cameroons

    1. Shirley Nora

      May my mother’s blood flow in the heads of this security sychofans used as a tool by the powers that be. They killed my mum in 2008 and that was not enough, they burnt down our house in 2012 and as if that too was not enough.Someday the hunter will be hunted. Mr. Apprentice soccier, the battle is yet to come. I may not be the one to defend my family but history will once again turn the cards on the table.

       

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