By Dr. Cho L. Ayaba
Genocide was constructed from two words; genos is a Greek word meaning ‘race or tribe’ and cide is a Latin suffix word meaning ‘to kill’. Genocide is distinguishable from all other crimes by the motivation behind it. That motivation is to kill a people simply because they come from a particular race or tribe different from yours.
Under customary international law and the Convention for the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide, all states have a duty to prevent and punish genocide. On the contrary, all through the 20th Century, tyrants across the world used to massacre and commit genocide as a tactic to eliminate their enemies and to frighten anyone who ever dreams of putting up similar resistance. Genocide is a crime committed against people because of their race, ethnicity, membership in a political or cultural group.
The purpose of genocide is to eliminate that group partially or completely using physical means. This is exactly what Hitler did to the Jews. This is the same crime that the late president of Rwanda did to the minority Tutsi group. The crime of genocide begins with the process of dehumanization. Dehumanization is making you less human so that once the killing starts, there is no guilt or pity on the part of the killers. To dehumanize people, they are first given names. The Tutsis were called “cockroaches’. Ambazonians have been called ‘les enemies dan la maison’ or ‘The enermisin the house’, ‘les Biafras’ or The Biafrans’. In this case, when soldiers kill, they know they are killing ‘The enemies of the house’ and not Ambazonians. Ambazonians have been called ‘Two cubes of sugar, and dogs’. They have referred to Ambazonians as ‘Les Anglos’. This is a description and not a name.
What les anglos translate into is worthlessness, 2nd class citizens, good for nothing. This further translates into a denial of opportunities. Once you are denied opportunities, you turn to beg, succumb to the will of the other and that gradually erodes your confidence and self-esteem. These attributes rob you first of respect and then your humanity. By referring to Ambazonians simply as les anglo, it takes away their sense of humanity and turns them into objects of ridicule- Dehumanisation as the first step of the crime of genocide is a slow and long process that finally ends with the actual killings. It is not any kind of killings. The Jews were killed in gas chambers. Thousands were locked up in a room, their hairs shaved, their bodies marked with hot metals; they were starved en mass and allowed to die in the full view of their captors. Tutsis were killed in close proximity by Hutus extremists who were once their neighbours. They used machetes and other crude weapons to hack their victims.
Apart from policies that have been imposed on Ambazonia to eliminate the population, Cameroun’s military has consistently engaged in acts of killings, massacre, systematic torture and rape. During the ongoing war of independence, Cameroun forces have carefully carried out massacres, deliberate and systematic killing of young males and in some cases deliberately incapacitating them by shooting them on their legs. The Menka, Pinyin, Bali, Santa massacres may be termed crimes against humanity or war crimes; but what was the motivation of the killers? The deliberate burning down of villages, the systematic killing of IDPs in the bushes; first they burn the villages to drive part of the population into the forest, then chase them into the forest and murder them. What is the motivation behind such tactics? Two days ago, another massacre occurred in Malende where four farmers were arrested, tied like cattle and executed because they refused to reveal the whereabouts of Ambazonia Separatist Fighters. Cameroun forces have been engaged in the systematic killing of civilian populations, especially young adults. In some of these cases, they have left behind hunting guns as evidence that these were fighters. The systematic targeting of young males designed to reduce the population of supposed fighters amounts to the crime of genocide
The actions of the government of Cameroun on the Ambazonian population for the past 58 years has been systematic and designed to reduce the population as a deliberate policy to take over Ambazonia. The crime committed in lake Nyos, the injection of girls to sterilize them; the deliberate infection of the population with the HIV virus are all acts designed to eliminate part of the population.
The appointment of colonial DO’s, SDO’s and governors within Ambazonia has led to tribal wars fanned by these colonial agents as they seek to change the demographic balance of Ambazonia. Where killings and deliberate policies that impose poverty and death fails, thousands are forced out of communities through forced evacuations as was seen in the State of Manyu.