By Ernest Sevidzem, AmbaNews24, Detroit, MI USA
The government of the Republic of Cameroun has claimed that 130 former “Ambazonian separatist fighters” who had surrendered to it, and were under custody at the government’s Disarmament, Demobilization and Re-integration (DDR) Center have escaped. However, the government’s claims have come under sharp public criticism for lack of credibility.
Many now believe the Cameroon government has rather killed the said 130 persons and quietly buried them in a mass grave. Claims of their escape are nothing, but a cover up story for what is being termed, the “DDR Massacre”.
Writing in Voice of America on August 19, 2020, Moki Edwin Kindzeka said, “Cameroon authorities are searching for more than 130 former separatist fighters who recently escaped from disarmament, demobilization and re-integration centers. The ex-rebels had turned themselves in to the rehabilitation centers but later escaped after complaints about poor facilities and a shortage of basic needs. Despite their initial voluntary surrender, Cameroon authorities still consider the former rebels a security threat.”
On Friday, August 20, 2020, AmbaNews24 asked a Cameroun military official insider at one of the DDR centers on the situation, and his response was stunning. He said, “What are you talking about? There are multiple DDR centers. Why did the government not tell us which one anyone escaped from? Has the government provided the names and pictures of those it claims they escaped? One hundred and thirty is such a large number; yet they all escaped at once without any gunshot, no one wounded or killed in centers that are guarded by heavily armed military men. Do you really believe that story? Go figure out what is going on!”
AmbaNews24 has carried out underground investigations in the surroundings areas where there are DDR centers. No one has attested to hearing gun shuts from there. If 130 “former separatist fighters” were escaping from any of the centers, one would expect a military counter with gunshots.
Furthermore, across Ambazonia, no one has asserted that he or she has seen any purported escapee. There is no evidence from among Ambazonian forces units across the territory that any “former separatist fighter” has reached out to the commanders or rejoined their ranks.
The Cameroon government’s claim is full of cracks and lack credibility. Many now consider it another account in a series of cover up stories for atrocious war crimes being committed by the Yaoundé regime.
It is not uncommon for the dictator Paul Biya oppression regime to kill Ambazonians in its custody in prisons or elsewhere, and burry them silently. Such was the case of journalist Samuel Ebuwe Ajieka, aka Wazizi, who was tortured to death in the hands of the Cameroon government on August 17, 2019, fifteen days after he was arrested by government forces and accused of speaking critically against the Biya regime’s handling of the Ambazonia-Cameroon conflict.
Reacting to the possibility that the 130 “former separatist fighters” have been massacred by the Cameroon kleptocratic government, Prof. Carlson Anyangwe said::
“The assassination is standard practice of colonial oppressors of the worst kind in what they call, in an abuse of language, counter-insurgency activity.
What the oppressor does is lure gullible freedom fighters to abandon the fighting and give themselves up in exchange for promises of gold and silver. Some foolish fighters do. In reality the objective of the oppressor is to use them as sources of human intelligence.
After the intelligence sought has been obtained, the helpless defectors who provide the required information together with those who refuse to cooperate become expendable. They are no longer of any use and become more of a burden. They are therefore simply assassinated. Besides, once a traitor, once a defector, always a traitor.
After the killings the oppressor then seeks to cover up its heinous crime by disposing of the bodies as it sees fit and concocts some story in connection with the whereabouts of those persons. The commonest story is the tall tale that they have escaped.
In this case the oppressor cannot say they have been kidnapped or even killed by ‘Amba boys’ because that would be conceding that the so-called ‘demobilization centers’(which are in fact more of prisons) presented as guarded by the so-called ‘elite force’, BIR, is after all not impregnable as advertised.”
The killing of the 130 constitutes a war crime against the Geneva Convention, and the Cameroun government must be held accountable. This is mass massacre in genocidal fashion, akin to the Ngahbur massacre in which the Cameroun military murdered more than two dozen civilians, among which were fifteen children.
Human rights groups and organizations such as Human Rights Watch, the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect, Amnesty International, and the United Nations Office on Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect have a moral obligation to question the Cameroun government, and demand transparency and accountability on this matter.
Any other Ambazonian fighter who hands himself or herself to the Cameroun government in the name of “rehabilitation” in the DDR should know that he or she is putting his or her life at risk.
The world at large cannot remain silent to the high possibility of this massacre. Questions must be asked, and cover ups must be uncovered.