By Tata Mbunwe
The parliamentarian, Sebastien Nadot, has pressured the French government to address the Cameroon Anglophone Crisis, which has persisted for over four years now.
During a parliamentary session on Tuesday, March 2, Sebastien Nadot, Independent Deputy to Haute-Garonne, posed direct questions to France’s foreign affairs minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, accusing the French government of supporting the dictatorial regime of President Paul Biya.
Nadot said it is “factual” there is “dictatorship” and “massacres,” with human rights violations which the French government has not addressed since 2016 when the Anglophone Crisis started.
“The French postcolonial denial is very worrying and these old methods of Francafrique lead us into the wall vis-à-vis Africa and Europe,” he said, adding that it is very worrying for France to remain silent about pertinent issues in Africa.
German broadcaster, DW, reports that the Anglophone Crisis has equally come under debate in the German Parliament. According to DW, German MP, Christoph Hoffman, has also questioned German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas, on the country’s passivity towards the four-year-long crisis.
“Take Cameroon: the President manipulated the elections, torched 300 villages, leaving four-year-old children to burn; hundreds of thousands of people had to flee. At 88, President Biya has been in power for 38 years,” said Christoph Hoffman.
Just like France, Germany is a former colonial master of Cameroon and administered the country from 1884 to 1916 when the colony was seized and partitioned between Britain and France.
The joined administration by Britain and France resulted in two separate governments, which were reunited in 1961 and later centralized in 1979. In 2016, the English-speaking part of the country, constituting two regions out of 10, felt marginalized – lawyers and teachers started protesting against the assimilation of the Anglo-Saxon educational and legal heritage by the French-majority government.
The lawyers-teachers strike was met with heavy military crackdown and arrests and in early 2017, armed groups started fighting against the Cameroon government in a quest for the secession of the English-speaking regions.
The conflict has since then exacerbated into a crisis that has displaced more than 700,000 people, with 4,000 others killed, according to rights groups.
Most western countries, including France, have been indifferent about human rights abuses and attacks on civilians, which have been very rampant throughout the crisis.
Although Paris shares close ties with the Yaoundé government, France has however shown very little interest in resolving the crisis in Cameroon, raising suspicions about French collaboration with the government to crackdown on English-speaking Cameroonians.
A recent report by Human Rights Watch indicting government soldiers of raping young girls in the Southwest region has been dismissed as fake by the government, although soldiers were responsible for the death of at least 21 civilians in the Northwest village of Ngarbuh on February 14, 2020.