Crisis in NW, SW: Six Anglophone detainees to make court appearance today

Six English Speaking Cameroonians are set to appear at the military tribunal in Yaounde today.

Arrested in Calabar, Nigeria and in Buea, they all face similar charges including terrorism, hostility against the state and rebellion.

Those from Nigeria were arrested on March 1st 2018. They accuse the government of leaving them in chains for nine months, while torturing them.

The six are among several other Anglophone detainees held at the Kondengui prison in Yaounde, accused of similar crimes.

Mimi Mefo Info

News Roundups

National And International News Roundup – September 1st, 2020

An uneasy calm now reigns in Small Mankon Bamenda after a military raid in the quarter this afternoon. The military was retaliating to the killing of a police inspector by separatist fighters around City Chemist quarter. Inhabitants say military destroyed small business tables they found along the way as they searched for the boys.

All activities came to a halt in a greater part of Bamenda this afternoon as military men fire gunshots several times in search of killers of a police man. A police source says when their colleague was killed, military was deployed and policemen asked to go back to the station.

The Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa based in Buea says it carried out methodological investigation of human rights violation in the anglophone regions of Cameroon that cannot be challenged. An expert from the centre speaking on Equinoxe television this evening says they receive threats from both separatists and the military for doing their job. The centre published documented cases of human rights violation committed by the military from May to August 2020.

How important is the condemnation of heinous activities in the crisis zone without action for a positive changes? The question many are asking as Cameroon Minister of Women’s affairs and the promotion of the family condemned the killing of women and girls in the anglophone regions. Marie Therese Abene says the lives of girls and women equally matter.

Four people have been killed and seven others wounded in Kouyape village, Kolofata Sub Division in Mayo Sava Division in the Far North of Cameroon. The attack was carried out by elements of Boko Haram at about 1 :00 a.m. this morning. Military men retaliated killing the insurgents.

Residents of Belo in the North West region have raised concerns over the arrest of some men accused of being separatist fighters. Contrary to information posted on government propaganda social media pages, the men, locals say were builders and farmers not separatist fighters.

A total of 15,077 additional people have registered on the electoral list in Cameroon this year. These were figures given by Elections Cameroon today while giving an appraisal of the end of electoral revision exercise yesterday. The organ has mentioned that COVID-19 paralysed it’s activities throughout the national territory.

The payment of fees and examination fee for secondary schools in Cameroon starts today for 2020/2021 school year. The Minister of secondary education says the payment should be done mainly electronically. It remains unclear how people in rural places will cope with the measure.

The Zambian government says it is “disturbed” by allegations that the country’s main opposition leader benefited from the privatisation of state-owned assets in the 1990s. Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND) has been accused of using his position as a consultant during the privatisation process to amass wealth, something he vehemently denies.

At least 90 people have died and nearly 400,000 have been affected following severe flooding in Sudan. The UN says heavy rains triggered flooding and a rise of the river Nile up to nearly 17.5 metres, the highest level in 100 years. The organisation says access to clean water which is critical for hygiene during the coronavirus pandemic has also been affected.

The former Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, has appeared in court at the start of his trial over the military coup in which he took power in 1989. Alongside several co-accused he was in a metal cage wearing white prison-issue clothes. Mr Bashir was ousted in April last year by military officers following months of nationwide street protests.

Mozambique has begun the second phase of easing Covid-19 restrictive measures under the country’s latest state of emergency. Cinemas, casinos, theatres, gymnasiums, driving schools and motorised sports have been allowed to reopen starting Tuesday. They will all be required to frequently disinfect their premises and equipment and all people coming in to wear face masks and wash their hands.

US R&B singer Akon, who has been talking since 2018 about building a new city in Senegal, said at a press conference on Monday that construction work will start next year. He said that the identities of the investors cannot be revealed but that a third of the $6bn (£5bn) funding had been secured. The architect behind the city, Hussein Bakri, said the city’s population would eventually reach 300,000.

Foreign news: BBC

Human Interest/Society

Cameroon: Bamenda paralyzed as unidentified gunmen kill police inspector, lady wounded

Cameroon: Bamenda paralyzed as unidentified gunmen kill police inspector, lady wounded

Uneasy calm now reigns in Bamenda following the assassination of a police officer by unidentified armed men.
The attack on a police control team was carried out in broad daylight around Small Mankon, Bamenda.

Although the unidentified armed men are said to have appeared onboard motorbikes and carried out the attack, other sources say they emerged from a nearby house and opened fire.

As the young Petit Bikolo bled and later died at the GMI hospital in Bamenda, his colleagues went in search of the culprits.
But given that it was a hit-and-run operation, civilians have been forced to pay the price.

“There is panic in Bamenda as gun battles have left residents running for their lives,” a local told Mimi Mefo as she struggled to take cover at a local bank at Commercial Avenue.

“From City Chemist to Small Mankon and Commercial Avenue, business places have shut down and were now at the mercy of amba boys and the military.”

As security and defence forces populated the supposed crime scene, city dwellers fled to safety.

“I’m at the Big Mankon entrance now and many people have taken to their heels to safer places while stores and shops have closed down as at now…” said a resident.

“Everyone Bda in Bamenda is on a run as I speak, serious shooting going on…The police here just firing and firing.”

Unable to get hold of the armed men who attacked and killed one of theirs, police officers went on rampage.
Videos show them destroying roadside shops and setting motorcycles on fire.

They emptied food flasks into gutters and destroyed roadside kiosks.

The murdered officer is said to have been transfered from Yaoundé to the Bamenda Central Police five months ago.

Mimi Mefo Info

Human Interest/Society

Gun battle causes chaos in Bamenda

There is panic in Bamenda as gun battles have left residents running for their lives. From City Chemist to Small Mankon and Commercial Avenue, business places have shut down.

Reports say an office caught fire at City Chemist as gendarmerie elements, the police and fire fighters moved in and fighting has ensued.

“I’m at the Big Mankon entrance now and many people have taken to their heels to safer places while stores and shops have closed down as at now..” said a resident.

“Everyone Bda in Bamendada is on a run as I speak, serious shooting going on…The police here just firing and firing,” said one of them.

Other reports suggest an inspector of police has been killed, leading to the outrage by security forces.

“Food market in Bamenda has just closed due to gun shots. The rumour is that an inspector of police has been killed. At hospital junction” a source says.


Human Interest/Society

Outcry in Belo as soldiers pin ‘separatist fighters’ tag on arrested builders

Recently, security forces issued a statement, announcing they had killed some separatist fighters and captured others in Belo, Boyo Division in the North West region Cameroon.

But reliable sources in the area have told Mimi Mefo Info, that some of those arrested had nothing to do with the conflict that has ensued for close to four years in the Anglophone regions of the country.

According to a source who did not wish to be identified: “They were taken at Fuli, one kilometer away from Belo Town … and they were not even in the direction where amba boys have pitched their camp. When the military surrounded Belo and was going up to Anyahjua to hunt amba boys, some of the soldiers were heading towards Fundong when they picked the suspects”.

Images on pro-government propaganda platforms accuse them of being separatist fighters

Government forces also displayed images of the “suspected separatist fighters” arrested during the operation, a move that has further deepened the existing mistrust that the local population has vis a vis the security forces.

Family and friends of some of those apprehended say they are builders and farmers, “not separatist fighters”. One of them explained to MMI in tears saying:

“I can’t go to sleep anymore. My uncle has been picked up in Boyo, precisely in Belo Subdivision, in the troubled zone. His name Is Kibang Honest Toh, a farmer from the South West Waterfall, he has never been a fighter, we are all very surprised to see this. This is a man who worked hard to take care of his home and the family”.

He continued by adding that: “On Sunday, they were picked up by the military in Belo and were later presented in Fundong as Ambazonian terrorists”.

All efforts to know his uncle’s whereabouts, he told us, have proven futile.

A friend to some of the arrested has a similar story to share. “I saw pictures of Eric Njuakom and Chiano Emmanuel, well-known builders in Belo being tagged as terrorists … I know them very well, that is not true, we can’t tell what is going on,” he explains.

Emmanuel, one of those arrested, he says had been a builder since 2014 and even had trainees who depended on him for their professional growth. He would later return to school to further his education.

“The Other person is Njuakom Eric, the simplest boy in Belo. He was working with Emanuel and was doing bike riding when things were still functioning in Belo,” he adds.

This is not the first time such arrests are being coordinated in the North West and South West regions, where the English-speaking population declared a breakaway state called Ambazonia, following decades of marginalization and neglect.

Accused of collaborating with or being separatist fighters, hundreds of Anglophones have either been locked up in different detention centers across the national territory or summarily executed. Domestic and International Human Rights organizations have called out the Yaounde regime on these atrocities, but there seems to be no end in sight to the violence.

Mimi Mefo Info

Human Interest/Society

ART Board Chair, Justine Diffo demands bodyguard following “several attacks”

The board chair Cameroon’s Telecommunications Regulatory Agency, ART, is demanding the services of a state security guard. 

In a note addressed to the commander of the Mobile Intervention Police Unit (GMI) in Yaounde on Monday August 31st 2020, Justine Diffo says she has suffered several attacks since her  appointment as the board chair of ART last April 20, 2020.

She says “to ensure that I carry out my duties properly for the interest and vision of ART, I need security at my job site. Following unfortunate incidents that happened when I was appointed, I was subjected to all sorts of attacks most especially  on the media.”

Note that Justine Diffo, also national coordinator of the group  “More Women in Politics” was accused of being the brain behind fraudulent and tribalistic appointments at ART. 

Serious accusations that urged the Minister of Post and Telecommunications,  Minette Libon Li Likeng to suspend the appointments for further investigations.

It remains unclear if the board chair of ART is entitled to a security officer at the office or it will be a special consideration given that Justine Diffo fears for her life after “several attacks”.

Mimi Mefo Info.

Human Interest/Society

Human rights group indicts soldiers over fresh atrocities in NW, SW

The Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, CHRDA has released a list of atrocities committed in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon between the months of May and August 2020.

The international human rights groups accuses the military of atrocities including extra-judicial executions, arbitrary arrests, unlawful detention, looting and extortion, poor prison conditions, and inhumane and degrading treatment of detainees.

The group describes a military offensive of Thursday 28 May 2020 in Bonduma as a massacre.

“This is not the first case of arbitrary executions in Buea, within the context of the Anglophone crisis. On Monday 30 July 2018, five young men in the locality of Bakweri Town were massacred under similar circumstances. On Thursday 27 September 2018, the military (Brigade d’Intervention Rapide – BIR) killed seven unarmed civilians in a compound on Ikundi Street in the Babuti neighbourhood of Buea town,” CHRDA’s release reads.

Other instances cited include the execution of Ebangi Brice in Bangem, South West region; military operations in Menchum Division, North West Region (July); the shooting of three children in Tiko; Military operations in Mautu, and military operations in Ikiliwindi.

“Arbitrary arrest and illegal detention are one of the methods employed by government forces to crack down on separatist fighters. Unfortunately, only the civilian population is suffering the effects,” the CHRDA report states.

The harassment of civilians, it adds, is another daily reality of civilians.
“On several occasions, civilians have been arbitrarily and unlawfully detained, and have paid a bribe to regain their freedom. Some die in the process, killed by the military. The military continues to fight in civilian-inhabited areas, and stray bullets have killed several civilians.”

It cites one of several arrests in Muyuka, a violent hotspot in the South West region: “On 6 July 2020, the military conducted a mass, cordoned search of Mamfe, Manyu Division, SWR, harassing and arresting over 60 persons, and later detaining them at the Mamfe Police station. Fifty were subsequently released, while ten remained in custody.”

The human rights body ends its report with a call for an investigation. “The Government must protect, promote and fulfil human rights. Doing this will rekindle trust and collaboration between the rights bearers (civilians) and public authorities.”

Mimi Mefo Info