“Symbolic half-measures like revoking preferential trade status are not enough to force the repressive regime of Paul Biya to change. Canceling IMF loans and military aid would show that the White House is serious“. These were the opening words from Foreignpolicy.com following President Donald Trump’s poignant letter, last 30th October, 2019, to Congress on his intention to end Cameroun’s trade privileges with the U.S under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in 2020. Trump’s letter was clear that “Cameroun has failed to address concerns regarding persistent human rights violations being committed by Cameroon security forces,”. These human rights concerns are not new since the crisis in the former British Southern Cameroon (Ambazonia) began in 2016. The U.S’s own Ambassador to Cameroun, Mr. Henry Balerin, fell short of calling the Atrocity Crimes, Ethnic Cleansing. He called it “Targeted Killing” of Anglophones. These Atrocity Crimes which are placed daily on the table of Global Decision Makers/diplomats (through tweets etc) and now documented on the website ambazoniagenocidelibrary.com have received less focus, despite UNICEF and Jan Egeland of the Norwegian Refugee Council calling it the most neglected, worst Humanitarian Crisis in the world. The Crimes by the Cameroun soldiers armed mostly by France include the burning of more than 9200 villages (here captured by the BBC). More than 14,500 people killed, with almost 1.5 internally displaced. An additional 2 million are out of school, and more than 75,000 as refugees in Nigeria.
Mocking President Trump
The ink had barely dried on President Trump’s letter when the government of Africa’s most brutal and second longest-serving ruler, Paul Biya, fired back. Authorities from the Cameroun Government claim the country barely benefits from AGOA, thus making a mockery of the U.S Government action. This treatment of the U.S by Paul Biya, is not new. The U.S Ambassador was openly threatened to shut up, or be sent back in a casket by regime loyalists, following his condemnation of the killings in the English Region/British Cameroon. Just as the Trump Administration in 2018 withdrew the U.S from the UN Human Rights Council citing slanted resolutions, the body admitted Cameroun as one of the members in January 2019. This admission follows the U.S Government’s curtailing of military assistance to the country due to Human Rights concerns.
“Biya can say anything to the U.S, as long as the U.S, pad him with ineffective actions, despite the overwhelming evidence of genocide”, a clergy man tells us. “Their citizen was killed and Trump never commented, even the ambassador to the country. Why shouldn’t Biya, be above international laws?” The prelate continues. “The first thing the U.S can do right now is to give an ultimatum for an unfettered investigation into the crimes in the British-Cameroon” the man-of-God pleaded.
Words alone were not enough. Less than a week following the letter, the fugitive authorities committed more Human Rights abuses in the Anglophone Regions (British Southern Cameroons), thus daring the US, as depicted by the images below. About 89 people were executed and burnt alive by the same security forces that the letter from the U.S government mentioned. In a farming community called Muyuka, the soldiers invaded villagers in their makeshift homes in the forest killing and burning their shacks as well. (Click image to enlarge).
More WAR CRIMES with Evidence Tempering
The same soldiers again arrested more innocent civilians (bike riders) in the village of Mbot in Northern Zone of the territory and transported them to a field where they were publicly executed on 4 November, 2019, around 11:00 Am, as evidenced by the military photographer’s shots. As is typical of the soldiers they tried to justify their War Crimes actions by tagging the bodies with local farming tools. Below are the images of the prepared corpses from the Cameroun military.
Independent Investigation and More Robust Sanctions Needed
According to estimates by the leadership of the Anglophone movement in the diaspora, more than 15,000 people have been killed in the Anglophone regions alone (click here to count). These figures are more than the paltry number put out by external organizations that have been refused access to the conflict region. As the prelate pleads, a robust independent investigation is needed. Biya has vehemently refused access to the British Cameroons from independent journalists from the Washington Post and other reputable organizations even the UN, preferring French-sponsored media who fly with the military to interview regime sources.
According to foreign policy, AGOA exclusion alone wouldn’t deter the Biya regime. The Trump Administration in order to resolve the conflict they insist should “curtail all military assistance, imposes targeted travel and economic sanctions on individuals, and uses its considerable leverage to punish the Biya regime through international financial institutions and at the United Nations”. The greatest defender of the sanguinary French Cameroun government has been António Guterres and France with its military equipment. Of late, French soldiers have been spotted in palm plantations in English-Cameroon (Ambazonia), alongside the soldiers President Trump accuses of gross human rights abuses. This assistance and defense of the Atrocity Crimes at the UN by France and Francophonie has strengthened the regime of 86-year-old Paul Biya, to not only snub the U.S government, but other world authorities that have called for an inclusive dialogue to end the conflict.
The US government must act boldly to halt this ethnic cleansing of the minority English-speaking people of British Cameroon, who went on the streets to demand just constitutional changes to the system in the country that treated them as a captured people, with no rights. The crisis if not resolved risked tainting President Trump’s Presidency as was Rwanda in 1994, when Bill Clinton failed to act on the evidence presented to him at the time, only to regret when more than 800,000 had lost their lives. It should be noted that the people of English Cameroon voted in 1961 to join the French Cameroun, as two equal states, not as a special status. The French Cameroun (La Republique du Cameroun) achieved her independence in 1960.