French President, Emmanuel Macron and his Cameroonian counterpart Paul Biya spoke on the phone Sunday on the tense situation in the English-speaking North west and South West regions of Cameroon. The telephone chat came eight days after critical remarks by the French president on the Yaounde government.
After being approach in France by a Cameroonian activist, Calibri Calibro on February February 22, President Macron promised to confront Biya on the killings in the conflict-hit anglophone regions.
“I put pressure on Paul Biya to deal with the subject of the English-speaking area and its opponents. I told him that I did not want to receive him in Lyon until Maurice KAMTO was not released. And he was released because we put pressure. But the situation continues to deteriorate, ” said Macron to Calibri adding that,
“I will call President Biya next week and I we will put the maximum pressure to end this situation. I am fully aware and fully involved in the violence in Cameroon which is intolerable. I’m doing mu maximum best”.
On Sunday March 1st 2020, Macron’s office said, the two leaders “discussed the security situation in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon,” during the telephone discussion. It is not clear if recent protest move organise by Yaounde government in front of the French embassies in Cameroon was part of the talks
But the French Presidency has said “they agreed on the need for an impartial investigation in response to the violence committed against civilian populations in the village of Ngarbuh, in the North West regions,” adding that on February 22, Mr. Macron had promised a Cameroonian opponent who had arrested him on the sidelines of a visit to the Paris Agricultural Show, to put “the maximum pressure” on Mr. Biya so that “des intolerable violence in Cameroon ”.
A few days earlier, on February 14, government soldiers had attacked the Ngarbuh district, in the locality of Ntumbaw, before shooting and burning residents. According to the UN, which has requested an independent and impartial investigation, 15 children, including nine under the age of five, are among the 23 victims. MMI documented over 35 deads.
The Cameroonian presidency reacted by “rejecting” the “surprising words” of Emmanuel Macron. The Cameroonian president “is accountable for his action to the only sovereign Cameroonian people and not to a foreign leader, even if he was a friend,” added his secretary general, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh. Government has equally denied killing civilians in Ngarbuh-Ntunbaw saying “only five people died during an exchange with separatists”. Separatist have for over three years been fighting for an independent state of the Anglophone community.
The Elysee Palace said on Sunday that the two presidents had “agreed to stay in touch on the monitoring of political initiatives resulting from the great national dialogue, in particular the establishment of a special statute for the regions” of the North West and South West.
In October, the irremovable President Biya, 86 years old, including 37 in power, had decided, under international pressure, to organize a major national dialogue to “resolve” the crisis in the English-speaking West. But peace is still far fetched in the war-torn areas as the bloody conflict rages on. Over 4000 people have died since the crisis started in 2016.
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