The latest Cameroon news is a mix of political and personal news. A journalist’s trial has been adjourned, an army spokesperson has acknowledged that a gendarme shot a 4-year-old girl for ransom, and a Separatist fighter abducts 30 people. Separatist fighters also abduct 33 seminary students for ransom. A military spokesperson said that the shooting was disproportionate. The army is now investigating the case.
OFFGO exposes abuses by businesses in the North-West regions of Cameroon
Organic Farming for Gorillas is a Cameroonian NGO that has exposed business practices that violate human rights in the North-West region. In its recent report, OFFGO said that over the last decade, several hundred businesses in the region have been subjected to human rights abuses. In 2015, the organization exposed abuses by businesses in the region, and is now looking for ways to stop such practices.
The report also revealed that armed men and women kidnapped 60 people in the Southwest Region. Local administrators told the BBC that the gunmen entered the village late at night and forced the victims to travel to an unknown destination. The majority of the abductees were children aged between 12 and 16 years old. The separatist leader, General Ayeke, demanded $2,500 to free the remaining victims.
Trial of journalist Amadou Vamoulke adjourned
The State Prosecutor has been asked by the Presiding Judge to prepare a decision on the charges against Amadou Vamoulke. The case has been adjourned 16 times since August 31, 2017, with no substantive debate yet taking place. A new embezzlement indictment has been filed, implicating at least eight other individuals. However, the case is not yet over.
The French press has condemned the judicial conspiracy against Amadou Vamoulke. The journalist has spent five and a half years in pre-trial detention without being tried. His hearing had been set for March 25 but has been repeatedly postponed. The judge has now set 11 April as the date for the hearing. This latest delay shows the high level of concern for the journalist.
Separatist fighters abduct 30 people
Separatist fighters from the “Ten Cobo” sect have gone house-to-house and abducted more than thirty people in Cameroon’s northwest region. The remaining captives were threatened by the abductors, and one of the attackers raped a girl in her early teens. Separatist fighters have denied involvement in the incident, but human rights groups have documented increasing numbers of abductions in Anglophone regions.
On August 29, armed separatists forced their way into the main seminary compound in Mamfe, and abducted vicar general Julius Agbortoko. The abductors demanded a ransom of approximately 20 million CFA francs, or about $34 million U.S. dollars. The priest was released shortly thereafter, but separatist fighters have been demanding a ransom in excess of 20 million CFA to free him.
33 seminary students kidnapped for ransom
A group of armed separatists has seized more than thirty-three seminary students in Cameroon. The abductions are being blamed on separatists in Anglophone regions who want to establish an independent state called Ambazonia. Separatists have burned and seized 100 schools in the past, but the abductions are the largest group to be taken at one time. As a result, the parents of the abducted students are anxiously waiting for news of their children.
The government has been accused of supporting the separatists. It is unclear if the government will release the students, who were kidnapped in April. Separatist fighters reportedly raped a teenager. Separatists also abducted 33 seminary students and a 54-year-old lawyer in May. The military freed the lawyer on May 31, but the students remain in captivity. The government will have to release 75 other abducted seminarians in order to free Regina Mundi and the other victims.
French president proposes form of governance to end Anglophone crisis
The Anglophone crisis was inevitable. The incumbent government failed to identify and manage political and socio-economic risks, and failed to address the educational grievances of the Anglophone population. This situation resulted in violence and a dangerous living environment, triggering further tension. The French government is committed to resolving the situation, but is also standing by the 1961 referendum. The Anglophone community also demands an end to the violence and insecurity.
The Anglophone crisis has compounded pre-existing vulnerabilities and has undermined long-term livelihoods. It has also depleted the local resource and asset base, triggering widespread poverty. Meanwhile, a major eruption could result in further displacement and degrade human, social and financial capital. French President Macron’s proposal may be a way to prevent this catastrophe. But what should France do now?