Several persons were arrested yesterday in Cameroon’s capital city, Yaounde. This was during a crackdown on areas with predominantly Anglophone inhabitants.
While the raids had been announced and were linked to two artisanal bomb explosions earlier, the treatment meted out to those in the residential areas has been nothing to write home about.
Former Member of Parliament and ex-Supreme Court Justice, Ayah Paul Abine has raised his voice like many others to decry the degrading treatment given those arrested for non-possession of national identity cards.
The treatment, he notes, is not limited to only Anglophones in Yaounde, but even those who escaped the war in the North West and South West regions and are now “refugees”.
In a June 27, 2020 writeup, Ayah Paul says “the identity cards of some Southern Cameroonians expired months ago; and because they are in the forests/bushes, and in refugee camps on account of the Anglophone War, those cards have not and cannot be renewed.”
“There are Southern Cameroonians whose identity cards were burnt in their houses; or they were destroyed in the rains; or they were taken from them by the regular forces and were never returned. There are those whose identity cards were seized by the Amba Boys who, rightly or wrongly, considered those cards as foreign documents,” he adds.
Ayah in the writeup goes on to paint an image of the daunting task required to establish a national identity card in Cameroon today, spiced with the notoriously poor treatment and insolence of security personnel involved in the process.
Terming the treatment of those arrested in Yaounde as degrading and humiliating, Ayah Paul questions: “is it not clear, by extension, that the same treatment was reserved for the Southern Cameroonians that were being lured to return home to Yaounde from the refugee camps in Nigeria?”
“Whatever the case, does the commission of any offence whatever, let alone, a simple offence, permit the forces to torture the people by compelling them to sit on the bare floor? If any such law there is, is it applicable only to Southern Cameroonians?” He questions further.
Placing the treatment given the arrested in comparison with the uproar that followed when a French speaking Cameroonian charged with high treason was unlawfully made to walk bare-feet, Ayah says “if so the Southern Cameroonians are discriminated against in the enforcement of the law, what becomes of the duty on Cameroun to abide by the international instrument that provides for EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAW?”
“Is the answer blowing in the wind?” He ends.
Despite the outcry, many top government officials have remained mute over the incident, even when renowned pressman Moki Edwin Kindzeka who works for state radion, CRTV and corresponds for other media outlets was harassed and asked to speak in French only.
Many believe the treatment meted on Anglophones and the silence of the government is part of a plan to subjugate them, and in no way contributes to easing political tensions in the Anglophone regions.
Mimi Mefo Info