“Why is the world silent over Anglophone Cameroon while men, women and children are killed in the most gruesome manner – shot, hacked, sometimes burnt alive in their homes just because they seek equality?” former President John Jerry Rawlings of Ghana wrote on his Facebook page and Twitter handle on Tuesday (18 February).
“Why will Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms not allow some of these shocking videos and photos to be posted for the world to see how some of our African compatriots are being brutalized?” he asked, in the statement titled ‘WHY IS THE WORLD SILENT OVER SOUTH CAMEROONS?’.
“Why does France and the rest of the world look the other way when it suits their selfish interests? How many more are going to die in the quest for parity in South Cameroons?”
Rawlings queried international broadcasting organisations such as CNN, Aljazeera and BBC, why they were not reporting on the conflict, pitting self-determination groups in the English-speaking South West and North West regions of Cameroon against the Francophone central government of President Paul Biya. Only last weekend, 23 people, mostly children, were killed allegedly by Cameroon’s soldiers in Ngarbuh, a village in the department of Donga Mantung in North-West Cameroon.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called it “a shocking episode” in the ongoing crisis that has afflicted the country for the past three years.
“What’s happening to CNN, Aljazeera, BBC et al that they cannot keep an eye on what is going on? Or when they do, it is so downplayed and underreported as the BBC did a couple of days ago (when 22 people including children were burnt to death) it lacks the seriousness and detail necessary to prick the international conscience,” Rawlings wrote.
“How can the US, the UK and their Western allies watch Macron’s beast do this to English-speaking Cameroonians? Considering that France is on the ground with its own troops in Mali, what prevents Macron from stopping this brutality, this atrocity in Cameroon? Should it surprise Europeans why Africans would risk their lives to escape being hacked shot or trapped and burnt alive from their colonies?” the former Ghanaian leaders asked.
“What about the African Union? If we are so powerless to act, can’t we at the very least condemn this mindless savagery by President Paul Biya? How can we live with the thought of human beings being surrounded with guns and lighted up to burn, roasted alive? Why?”
Rawlings ended his statement on the conflict thus: “The time has come to put an end to this modern-day barbarism. Enough of paying lip service to the South Cameroons problem. All people and countries of conscience must rise up and seek an urgent intervention to stop the mayhem!”
The crisis began in 2016 with protests by lawyers and teachers over the influence of French in court rooms and schools. The root of the grievance includes anger over the region’s under-development, its lack of political representation, and the perceived erosion of an Anglophone cultural heritage, according to analysts. The conflict has left some 2.3 million people urgently in need of food, shelter and protection – an increase of one million compared to a year ago. While some 1.7 million of those remaining within the two regions, 600,000 have fled to the Littoral, West and Centre regions.