Cameroon is once again in the spotlight.
Firstly, the pro-independence movement in Anglophone Cameroon, which initially had support amongst the local population, has degenerated into various factions, headed by warlords, that are terrorising the local population. Secondly, the overthrow of unpopular presidents in Burkina Faso, Niger and Gabon has led to speculation that Paul Biya in Cameroon is next. We received the below firsthand report from a source in Cameroon, who for security reason requested anonymity.
SEPARATIST FIGHTERS MORE OR LESS WARLORDS NOW
The forgotten or neglected conflict in the English-speaking parts of Cameroon, which is in its 7th year and counting has seen a shift in focus, both on the ground with the Separatist Fighters as well as the so-called frontline leaders in the diaspora. Self-interest and infighting have made them shift the goal post of the objective, which until now had been a united call for the people of these two regions of the country to determine their fate by a referendum whether they want to remain with their majority French-speaking brothers and sisters or become an independent State of Ambazonia. On the part of the leaders of this struggle for independence, there are 3 different factions (the Sissiku Ayuk Tabe-led Interim Government, the Ikome Samuel Sako-led IG and that of Chris Anu recently declared on September 13, 2022) claiming to be the ones calling the shorts. The Separatist Fighters on the other hand, had long turned on the population they claimed to protect, committing so many atrocities such as summary executions, without investigations, kidnapping for ransom, harassment of the local population etc. from the moment these excesses of theirs came into play, the government of Cameroon stayed mute, hoping that the local population will sooner than later be fed up with the Separatist Fighters and either start collaborating with the Armed Forces of the State to fish them out or start complaining against them. This has worked in favour of the Cameroon government as the local population continues to suffer in the hands of the Separatist Fighters. It is due to instances such as these that a concerned person in the affected parts of Cameroon, whom DHPI contacted, and who preferred anonymity, categorically stated that the Separatist Fighters are nothing else but warlords, fighting for their interests and no longer for independence of Ambazonia. At the moment, the population of these 2 regions of the country are suffering under a two-weeks compulsory lockdown (sit-in) imposed and enforced by the Separatist Fighters. This Lockdown was proclaimed to frustrate the government of Cameroon’s official date of school resumption for the academic year of 2023/2023 on September 4th, 2023. Friday, September 8, 2023, marks the 5th day of the lockdown that is supposed to end on September 18, 2023.
THE MILITARY COUP IN GABON AND ITS EFFECTS ON CAMEROON
On Wednesday August 30th, 2023, the world awoke to the news of the most recent military coup in Gabon. Ali Bongo, the President and his family who have been at the helm of Gabon for over 50 years had been placed under house arrest, and General Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema declared the Interim leader of the Country. The government of Cameroon reacted to the news of the coup in Gabon with an immediate reshuffling of the military leadership in the country and putting women at the top positions. However, the reaction of the citizens was diametrically opposed to that of the government as social media was rife with Cameroonians congratulating Gabon and unanimously calling on the military leaders of Cameroon to follow suit. It must be noted that Paul Biya, who has been the ruler of Cameroon since 1982 had diversified the Armed Forces in the country as a preventive measure for a possible coup. Having suffered a failed military coup in 1984, Biya wasted no time in creating so many arms of the military. In this light, the country has the Gendarmerie, the Regular Army, the National Presidential Guard and the Rapid Intervention Brigade widely known by its French acronym as BIR. With this diversification of the Armed Forces, Biya has used the tactic of divide and rule as some arms of the military are given preferential treatment to the detriment of others, for example the BIR is supposedly the envy of the Armed Forces in Cameroon. The diversification of the Armed Forces, coupled with the recent adjustment in command of the top brass of Defense Sector has cancelled out any possibility of a military coup taking place in Cameroon any time soon. Paul Biya will continue wielding power until a different strategy is devised to unseat him.