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BLOODY CAMEROON

Bloody Cameroon

Cameroon is a promising land known for its peace, love and unity. A nation made up of one of the most welcoming people on earth. And for a very long time Cameroon has enjoyed and have been known for its peace throughout the world. Did you know Cameroon is also referred to by many as Africa in miniature? Well that’s a conversion for another day. The point here is the Cameroonian people have been used to a normal way of live of relative peaceful atmosphere void of wars throughout their territory until some few years ago when that peace was not only threaten but brought to questioning; characterized by bloodshed particularly in the North West and South West Regions of the Country. All of a sudden the land of peace has become a nightmare, a hard pill to swallow, a hunted area, a land of Bloodshed.

It all began like a joke. The crisis popularly referred to as the Anglophone Crisis actually started as some what a Joke. Nobody can truly categorically beat his or her chest to say they saw it coming on the day it commenced. How it came about is anyone’s guess as many hold various strong views as to the step to step coming about of the deplorable situation now weakness throughout the nation border’s particularly in the two regions I mentioned earlier. However, from my point of view it all began on a certain day like all others. The news of teachers and lawyers striking due to the unfavorable working conditions and discrimination shown unto the Anglophones in the nation was all over the media. It was a hot topic on the streets and on both national and local radio and televisions. Little did anyone know at the time that, that was the beginning of a long era of pain and suffering in the land. 

On that faithful day of the start of the strike,several schools in the Anglophone regions; which simply refer to the predominantly English speaking regions of Cameroon – The North West and The South West regions, shut their doors to a no school day. The Principal and Teachers announced to the students thatthe will be no School for a week. Most students on their part were happy at the time as we all know, theywon’t have to deal with the stress of school for one week, and little did they know it was going to be a way of life some months and years to come, all to their detriment

What started gradually as a strike rapidly turned into something else; a crisis. Bike riders and many others who felt they have gone through the reign of discrimination and were by now tired of being oppressed as some may put it, entered into the strike as well. Meanwhile there were still others who saw it as an opportunity to settle scores with their neighbors also quickly joined into the strike and more radically: That led to the commencement of bloodshed in Cameroon.

Nonetheless, the fight kept on growing each day. More and more parties got into the strike. Parties made up of children of the mother land from both at home and abroad. Several leaders emerged as heads over the strike and soon laws and rules were set aside for the so called Anglophone regions. The reasons that brought about the strike actions quickly generated into the quest for independence. This resulted into the naming of the Northwest and Southwest Regions as the “Ambazonians”. This “Ambazonians” have their armies whom the public calls the “Amba boys” and thegovernment calls “The Seprative fighters” as they believe their fight is to separate the country. One thing led to another to a point when the so calledAmbazonian” came up with a flag and an anthem. The Ambazonians had generals from whom they get their commands from and not the president of the nation, his Excellency Paul Biya. Things became more political than social.

In addition, peaceful protest quickly turns into gun fights between the armies and the “amba boys”. The public was made the poorer for must fights as families often loose loved ones to stray bullets and homes burnt down as a result of the arm conflict taking place. Thefight which was to some known as “the struggle” was not and is not an easy one and out of the many negative effect, the worst as confessed by many was the pulse of the Education of future leaders of tomorrow – the youths. This made the education of many hanging on a ballot as to whether or not to attend school under such deplorable warlike conditions.

Taking a look back now, over the more than four years of this crisis you will discover a trail of bloodshed all over the nation’s territory especially in the regions of the Northwest and the Southwest of Cameroon. Many people have died, properties lost, families separated, a huge increase in school dropouts in the Anglophone areas, a lot of intercity migration taking place and so on.

In the Governments’ desperation to bring an end to the ongoing crisis, they sent in the armies who had clashes of gunshot battles each time they came incontact with the “Amba boys” which always lead to an outburst of gunshot and the civilians always end up being the victims. The question on the lips of many is this: Is the government right to send soldiers meant for war to handle civilian matters? OR are the “Amba boys” right to move around enforcing their opinions on the people? That’s for you to answer. Nonetheless, since the start of the crisis it has become normal to see military armed war vehicles parading the streets and also “Seperative fighters” moving in the open with arm guns.

Normalcy has been pushed to the curbs. People can no longer live their normal lives, living in fear of one’s life at all times. Living with the fear of the unknown is now the other of the day. This fight has left the nation in complete fear which makes me ponder upon some questions I hear many people in the Southwest region sayhow can you say you are fighting for us, yet burning down our schools? How can the people you say you are fighting for yet you hurt and kill them like nothing matters, having no conscience but destroying, killing all kinds, that is, young, old, adults, adolescent. She was posing this question to both the government and the boys in the bushes (Amba boys). She went on; destroying our towns and cities. Who will build it back? Our streets are deserted, land of promise has turn to land of no future, and misery has become the order of the day. People now live their lives in perpetual fear not knowing what will happen the next minute.

Also, the peace and serenity that Cameroonians were used to enjoying now only exist in the past. Parents have watched their husbands being killed. Children have watched their parents being murdered. Parents have watched their children being killed, being the victims of circumstances. A life they never choose, destiny being cut short and ambitions being wasted.There’s too much evil and bloodshed oh! How a peaceful nation has turn to a bloody one.

The other regions, dominantly French speaking seem to be enjoying some relatively peaceful atmosphere as far as the crisis is concerned. Schools are functional and many have left strike regions into these regions for education or merely to start a new life. Meanwhile in the Anglophones regions there is continuous gunshot battles and civil unrest.

They say they protect us, yet they kill us, they say they fight for us, yet they kill us, they say they fight for us yet we suffer the most. Our towns are deserted;places full of life like Bamenda have been reduced to something else. Who will build our great cities? Cried a student I met on the road who couldn’t go to school as a result of the strike. Most of our brothers are now school dropouts yet the “francophone” regions enjoypeace, they go to school. To her, the crisis is French versus English fight and many share the same view as her all over Cameroon. Some even make statements such as “They said they are angry with the government yet our school children are the victims while their children go to good schools out of the country where they are save yet we kill ourselves. Who will save us?

Whether we admit it or not, the truth remains that many have died due to shock or High Blood Pressureof the numerous gunshots every timeMy heart bleeds for Cameroon. Who will be next? We are left with the confusion of when this will end when we will experience peace again. Religious people engage in all sort of religious exercises with the hope of a peaceful tomorrow and an end to the crisis. Others like the case of the town of Banghem resulted in seeking diabolic means to bring peace to their town.

“Ghost towns”, is observed in the Anglophone regions. Mondays have become a day when people in these regions will normally sit at home throughout without going out to work or to schools. This phenomenon is referred to as the “ghost town”. This was a show of the people’s discontent to the government’s leadership. It started as a voluntary exercise but lather on became a huge bone in people’s throat as many felled forced rather than it being a choice. On this day, everyone will stay at home for fear of death if found on the streets. Many have fallen victims of brutal acts on this day. People plan way ahead of the day as they know they won’t be any business activity taking place on that day and as such business people together with families sell and shop and plan prior to the day(s) in order to have food to eatat home when the Ghost town day or days arrive. This day has gradually become the official resting day of many in these regions. Some will say it helped,especially those who are workaholics who used to overwork themselves, to have rest at least once a week. It has been like that for years, but gradually things are changing to the better especially in towns like Bueawhere on ghost town days one can find people going out, business activities functioning, few taxis working and much more.

What wrong have we committed, is going to school now a crime? Is education a bad thing? Why can’t the children study in peace, what has schooling gotten to do with the issue on ground? I ponder on these questions.

Looking at all that has happen I wonder the reason for strive. Our towns, villages and cities have been destroyed, who will build them back? They destroy our own city yet they say they fighting for our good; what good is it when people can no longer visit their villages in peace.

What good is it when our brothers and sisters abroad come home; they remain out of their home towns for fear to be killed or extorted of huge sum of money. What good when children go to study but some do not return?

One part of the nation is living live like no war exists whereas the other part is in constant consciousness of the Crisis. Visit towns like Douala, Yaoundé and you will find out that life there isrelatively normal with children going to school; people working as usual with the absence of a ghost town day set aside, business are very much functional every day without fear of gunshots or stray bullets. The contrary is faced in the Anglophone regions where one can’tcarry out business activities without the fear of gunshots or stray bullets from police and amba boys fight. In fact even on a Monday regarded as ghost town for Anglophone towns is a normal day for francophone cities. Many Anglophones have abandoned their homes to francophone regions in search of peace, education and businesses. 

People are tired, there’s anger and hatred in the air due to what most Anglophones have gone through this can be proven by what happened in Buea-Cameroon recently to the little girl who was gun down on her way to school by a military personnel. This incident attracted the attention of the people and an angry crowd came out to cry for justice. Buea was red that day. They marched to the Divisional Officer’s office angrily to table their complaints after mop justice had already been taking by stoning the army involved to death. How terrible! 

That’s not all, Buea has been somehow quite and good but the recent happenings have kept the population in awe and fear. The explosion at the university of Buea (UB) was unexpected which left some students injured, the cause or persons behind this are unknown but still under investigations. 

Alsothe numerous car explosions that have been occurring in Buea- Cameroon have left the population scarred especially on Monday. Many taxi drivers no longer work on Mondays for fear of explosives. Some start work at 9am instead of 5am as usual. Many people do not go out on Mondays for fear of their lives. This incident has led to the dead of a taxi driver. There have been two incident of taxi bombing recently, in another taxi the driver was wise enough to jump out of the car before the car exploded. The reason for this is unknown. Rumor has it that the “amba boys or rather the Ambazonian leaders want to enforce the strict observation of ghost town on Mondays since the population have not been totally respecting the day and hence treat the day just like every other day which was not supposed to be so according to them.

Who will save us? Who is next? No one knows. There is too many killing and bloodshed in the land. “Land of promise, land of glory” is now divided. Peace – work – fatherland is now “please-war-find your land” and land of uncertainty.

Many are baffled by the recent happenings in Buea – Cameroon as it continuous to keep the population on their toes. On Monday the 6th of December 2021, an incident happened at a market place known as “Old Market” which is known to hold market activities daily no matter the ghost town policy on Monday.  Thismarket is situated at Great Soppo Buea, Cameroon. On that faithful day people went about their normal activities in the early hours of the day only for an explosion to occur in the market, people rushing out of the market, the police came to investigate and market was closed for that day. Stores around were shut, and then street was dry which was not usually so. An eye witness explained how he saw a big bag very early in the morning in the market, only for him to check he saw a gas bottle and a parcel sealed, he was scared and alerted people to help get rid of it before it explodes but before they could get rid of it, it exploded.

We don’t know who planted it there but many people suspect the ‘Amba boys’ trying to enforce ghost town policy on Monday. No one knows their next venue and target.

The government says dialogue can solve these issues but yet many meetings have been held but no solution.

The nation bleeds and bleeds as many lives are being lost to the Crisis even at this time where COVID-19 is taking its own toll of dead bodies worldwide. I hope for the day when peace will return to my Country, where the government will listen and act to the benefit of its people. Where love peace and unity will feel the hearts of every Cameroonian. Where all children in the nation will feel free to go to school without fear of being hurt by bullets or brutalized by armed men. Where everyone’s opinion will be heard and everyone’s views respected without fear of being called a ‘black leg’. Where business will take place as usual in the northwest and southwest regions. When crime will be frowned upon no matter the position of the perpetrators; whether civilian or military, whether poor or rich, weather Minister or civil servant. Where travelling between regions will become fun again. And the dignity of this nation restored to its former state of glory, peace, love, joy and togetherness. 

 

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