By Ashu Stanislaus AmbaNews24 Correspondent – Yaoundé, Cameroun
The administrative building of the Divisional Officer (D.O) in Muyuka has been burnt to ashes. The incident took place in the night of January 1, 2020 after Ambazonian independence fighters and the Cameroon military had engaged in a fierce battle of high caliber gun exchanges that rocked the town during the day.
The D.O and some staff had just finished a late meeting in the building. They narrowly missed the attack.
AmbaNews24 has gathered that the Ambazonian fighters were going after all and any materials stored in the building by the Cameroun government in view of parliamentary and municipal elections scheduled by the Paul Biya, President of Cameroun, regime to take place on February 11, 2020. The Ambazonia Governing Council and ally Ambazonian independence movements have banned these elections in the Ambazonian territory, describing all those who dare to promote or take part in them as “enablers promoting the illegal occupation of Ambazonia by Cameroun, and the killing of the Ambazonian people by Biya’s military.” Many sitting mayors and councilors have resigned, refusing to take part in the elections.
Furthermore, the razing of the building was in retaliation for the killing of a young teenage girl and an elderly man by the Cameroun soldiers in Muyuka on December 30, 2019. The duo were sitting in front of their homes when Cameroun’s elite military, the BIRs, opened fire on them unprovoked.
In the Ambazonia independence struggle, the current incident is one in a long train of events in the guerilla warfare strategy of undermining and delegitimizing Cameroun’s governance of the Ambazonia territory in an effort to eventually and effectively defeat Cameroun, and end its annexationist rule in the Ambazonian territory that it currently occupies.
Muyuka has been the center of countless remarkable bloody events in the liberation struggle, including the killing of a four months old baby Martha Neba by the Cameroun military on May 20, 2019, the killing of Catholic priest Fr. Alexander Sob in August 2018 by Cameroun soldiers, and three prison breaks by Ambazonian fighters in May (twice) and August 2018. The Cameroun government has been hunting detainees who were bundled from their homes and streets, and locked up in the prisons at the time of the break-ins. One of them, Joseph Ebune, for example, was spotted in Bafoussam in June 2019, seized by Cameroun gendarmes, tortured and killed while in detention in Bafoussam.
The ongoing Ambazonia war of independence has claimed the lives of more than 3,500 people on both sides and sent over 60,000 to Nigeria as refugees. A humanitarian catastrophe has ensued with over half a million civilians displaced by the daily fighting, and over 3.5million people affected per United Nation’s data. Over 750,000 children have been out of school – we are entering into the fourth year of schools shutdown in the territory as a result of the armed conflict in which the Cameroun military has burnt down at least ten thousand houses in more than 350 towns and villages.
Even Ambazonian nationals who have fled from the war tone zone to seek safety across the Mongo, extending from the Littoral Region to the Central Region and stretching northward in Cameroun are not safe as the Cameroun government is constantly carrying out raids in neighborhoods where it suspects that these victims of Mr. Biya’s war are seeking shelter. Many displaced into these neighborhoods have suffered substantial loss of money from extortion by the Cameroun police and gendarmes, have been detained and tortured, and others remain unaccounted for as a result of these raids.
The New Year began on January 1, 2020 with battles in Muyuka, Batibo, Kumbo, Ikiliwindi, Bamenda and Wum –just to name a few. Unless the international community takes a decisive action throughout 2020 to end the conflict in a way that guarantees justice for the Ambazonian people and respects their right to self-determination, one can expect that the conflict will continue throughout the year and beyond. There is no quick end in sight.
The Ambazonian people evidently remain determined to free themselves once and for all from Cameroun’s tyrannical rule as visible in their overwhelming rejection of the Cameroun government’s offer of a “Special Status” to the Ambazonian territory. The Ambazonian people consider it a “non-event” that has not moved the mindset of the population towards an end of the conflict. Also, the Ambazonia Governing Council declared in December 2019 that “under no condition or circumstances whatsoever” shall the people of Ambazonia forsake their right to self-determination, and has since then been increasing the military capabilities of Ambazonian fighters on the ground. Not long after the declaration, Cameroun’s Colonel Michel Ange Tsague was killed on 23 December, 2019 by Ambazonian Forces in Bamenda – although Cameroun has been trying to claim otherwise in an effort not to demoralize its troop. Mr. Biya proclaimed in his December 31, 2019 speech that he will continue the military option against “Ambazonian separatists”.
The purported Swiss-mediation is in limbo as the Cameroun government has refused to grant it mandate. Biya further spat on the face of the Swiss when he told the court in Douala to cancel the Douala Port contracts that were being awarded to the Swiss Terminal Limited Liability company, and to let the French Bollore company proceed with management of the port.