USAfricaonline.com sources informed us that the declaration of independence by the English speaking section of Cameroon today October 1, 2017, has seen a severe clampdown and killing of at least 25 persons by the government of Paul Biya. Developing reports….
Buea (AFP) – Police patrolled empty streets in Cameroon’s restive anglophone belt as a separatist group made a symbolic proclamation of independence on Sunday [October 1, 2017], a day after a young man was shot dead by security forces.
“I can’t go out, they asked us to stay home,” said one city resident who identified herself as Nancy.
“Everyone is afraid… it’s not good,” added Thom, another resident.
A young man was shot dead by security forces on Saturday in the nearby town of Kumba, known as a rebellious city since the start of protests by the anglophone minority last November, sparking clashes between security forces and the local population.
“They fired at him during a security operation,” a nurse who requested anonymity told AFP. The incident was confirmed by a security source and several local residents contacted by phone.
On Sunday, “at least one person was injured by live fire” in the northwestern city of Bamenda, where the situation was “very tense”, a source close to the local authorities told AFP.
In nearby Kumbo, three inmates at a prison were shot and killed trying to escape while security forces were mobilised for the deployments in anglophone regions, a source close to regional authorities said.
The majority of Cameroon’s 22 million people are French-speaking, while about a fifth are English speakers.
The legacy dates back to 1961, when a formerly British entity, Southern Cameroons, united with Cameroon after its independence from France in 1960.
The anglophone minority has long complained about disparities in the distribution of Cameroon’s oil wealth.
Cameroon’s long-serving president, 84-year-old Paul Biya, took to social media Sunday to condemn “all acts of violence, no matter where they come from or who is responsible”.
One of the leaders of the opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF), Joshua Osih, told AFP the security forces were “firing real bullets at the protesters” but stressed that he was not a supporter of the secessionist movement.
On October 1, the anniversary of the official reunification of the anglophone and francophone parts of Cameroon, the anglophone separatists wanted to make a symbolic proclamation of independence for Ambazonia, the name of the state they want to create.
The anglophone minority has long complained about disparities in sharing out Cameroon’s oil wealth
“We are no longer slaves of Cameroon,” said Sisiku Ayuk, who describes himself as the “president” of Ambazonia.
“Today we affirm the autonomy of our heritage and our territory,” he said on social media on Sunday.
On Thursday, Cameroonian authorities announced a temporary curb on travel and public meetings across the Southwest Region, adding to a curfew in the neighbouring Northwest Region, also English-speaking.
The European Union called on all sides to be responsible and “respect the rule of law and avoid any act of violence.”
Since November, the anglophone minority has been protesting against perceived discrimination, especially in education and the judicial system, where they say the French language and traditions are being imposed on them, even though English is one of the country’s two official languages.
Most anglophone campaigners want the country to resume a federalist system — an approach that followed the 1961 unification but was later scrapped in favour of a centralised government run from the capital Yaounde. A hardline minority is calling for secession.
Biya opposes any such changes.