National and International News Roundup – 17th January 2020

Journalist Martynese Zogo has been arrested and detained at the Secrétariat d’État à la Défense chargé de la gendarmerie nationale, SED. According to sources at SED, Samuel Mvondo Ayolo ,the director of civil cabinet at the presidency is a accusing the popular radio journalist of defamation against his wife. Journalist Martynese Zogo had earlier been summoned by NCC following a complaint brought before the media watchdog by the director of cabinet at the presidency.

Government soldiers have embarked on a no mercy mission in Bum, Boyo, North West Region of Cameroon. For the past one week, villagers are homeless, some on the run and over ten deaths reported. After raiding atleast six villages, here are the figures from sources on the ground: 8 persons killed and many missing in Bum subdivision, 3 persons killed and 34 houses torched in Su-bum, 24 houses burnt and one killed in Kimbi, 76 houses burned in Mulung, 2 persons killed and 17 houses burnt  in Ngunakimbi, and in Kichowi 70 houses set ablaze.

It will be a long night for Bali Nyonga residents in the restive North West Region of Cameroon following hours of gunshots between Ambazonian fighters and government forces. Several houses were reportedly set on fire after soldiers raided over five quarters in Bali Friday. Atleast one person was killed. Many villagers sought refuge in bushes.

The United States is proposing effective decentralisation as a solution to the Anglophone crisis.  In an exclusive interview with RFI this morning, Ambassador Tibor Nagy, US Assistant Secretary in charge of African Affairs said any window dressing decentralisation will not stop the bloodshed. The statement contradicts his previous outings where he called for the implementation of federalism as a solution. This new position comes after his recent meeting with Prof. Maurice Kamto in the US.

Cameroon’s Minister Delegate in charge of Defence has reaffirmed the determination of the country’s military to crush separatist fighters who refuse to drop their arms in the North West and South West Regions hit by prolonged armed conflict. Joseph Beti Asomo was speaking in Yaoundé today while receiving New Year wishes from army staff and other officials. Army Chief Of Staff, General Rene Claude Meka used the occasion to outline military’s achievements in 2019.

Lawyers of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement, CRM party of Prof. Maurice Kamto, its allies, supporters and sympathisers have adopted a code name, ‘Collective Sylvain Soup’.  Meeting in Yaounde today, the name was chosen in honour of Barrister Sylvain Soup who died from injuries sustained in a motor accident one week ago in the West Region.

Hon. Patricia Tomaino Ndam Njoya has called on Cameroonians to participate massively in next month’s local elections. The Cameroon Democratic Union Member of Parliament was speaking today in a press conference in Douala Friday. Mme Ndam Njoya says the electoral code remains bad but Cameroonians need to change the status quo via the ballot box. She however condemns the holding of an elections when the war is still raging in the Anglophone regions.

Government is optimistic that the February 2020 elections will take place hitch free nationwide.  The Minister of Territorial Administration reassured Cameroonians today after visiting some facilities where electoral and campaign materials are produced. Paul Atanga Nji appeared forgetful of the dire security situation in the North West and South West regions.

The Minister of Decentralisation and Local Development is challenging Cameroonians to emulate the gesture of Fotso Victor, Mayor of Bandjoun Council in the West Region. The business mogul and politician today offered a building worth FCFA five billion to the government.  The building is currently hosting the Bandjoun Council. 

The city of Douala will host matches for the African Football championship to take place in Cameroon in the month of April this year.  To ensure hitch free matches, the Governor of the Littoral Region has installed the regional organising committee.  Samuel Dieudonne Ivaha called on the members to work for the success of the championship.

Several Fons in Nkambe central subdivision are still living as internally displaced persons out of their villages; the says the D.O for Nkambe central subdivision, Mr Ngida Lawrence Che. DO Ngida spoke at the end of a tour of the 17 Nkambe villages. He gave them an ultimatum to return and manage village affairs

Inhabitants of the Mbankollo neighbourhood in Yaoundé II subdivision have called on the government to intervene on a land exploitation problem they are faced with. They held a peaceful protest Friday in Yaoundé to air their grievances. They accused some wealthy officials of forcing them away from their legally owned lands.

Members of the National Commission on the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism have been reminded that their period of grace is over. “The time is right to get to work and attain the commission’s objectives,” Peter Mafany Musonge, the President of the commission spoke today while urging members to transparently manage the 2020 budget in order to produce desired results

Inhabitants of the Manyu Dvision in Cameroon’s South West region say several villages in the area have been raided once more by the military. The villages, a source says, include Mbetta, Njungo, Tabongkwa and Elumba. “So far two houses have been set ablaze and two people killed in Njungo,” our source said adding that “they are arresting men”. Villagers add, they have taken cover in the bushes for fear of their lives.

The Committee to Protect Journalists CPJ has launched a campaign advocating for the release of jailed journalists. Among those whose release is being advocated for by the Free The Press Campaign is Cameroon’s Samuel Wazizi who was arrested in August. Months after his arrest today, lawyers and his colleagues say the pressman is still nowhere to be found.

Five English-speaking West African countries and Guinea have criticised a move to change the name of the regional currency from CFA franc to the eco. The West African Economic and Monetary Union, made up of eight former French colonies and former Portuguese colony Guinea Bissau, said in December that it was renaming the CFA franc.

Security officials in Burkina Faso say five soldiers were killed when their vehicle hit an explosive device in the north of the country. At least two others were wounded in the attack in Soum province. The incident is being blamed on suspected jihadists.

Police in Kenya say they have arrested a member of parliament, Babu Owino, in connection with the shooting of a DJ at a nightclub in the capital, Nairobi. Footage appearing to show the incident has been widely shared on social media.

Ugandan academic, writer and feminist activist Stella Nyanzi has won the Oxfam Novib/PEN International Award for Freedom of Expression 2020. Ms Nyanzi is a controversial academic, who campaigns on a variety of issues, from sanitary pads for schoolgirls to gay rights. She was sentenced to 18 years in prison in August last year for “cyber harassment” after she published a poem on Facebook criticising President Yoweri Museveni. “At PEN we believe unshakeably in the need for writers to be able to criticise, parody, and mock at the highest levels. This award recognises the work she has done for women, civil society, and in the defense of free expression,” Jennifer Clement, PEN International president said in a statement released on Friday.

A Ugandan Imam who married man dressed as a woman has been arrested and charged. Sheikh Mohammed Mutumba was charged with having carnal knowledge with a person against the order of nature, according to Daily Monitor newspaper. Sheikh Mutumba has been remanded at Ntenjeru prison.

Health leaders from seven African countries are meeting on Friday in Togo’s capital Lomé to sign an agreement criminalising trafficking in fake drugs. Tens of thousands of people in Africa die each year because of fake and counterfeit medication.

Athletics Kenya President Jackson Tuwei says the increasing number of suspensions of Kenyan athletes means that the anti-doping systems are working. His comments came a day after an athlete in the west of the country evaded anti-doping officers who had arrived for a testing exercise at his home.

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