Officials of the Cameroon government and some jailed separatist leaders began ceasefire talks July 2, 2020, the first time since the Anglophone crisis turned into an armed conflict.
Jailed Ambazonia leader, Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe led the separatist delegation at the talks while the government of Cameroon was represented by Leopold Maxime Eko Eko, head of the General Directorate for External Research, DGRE.
Ayuk Tabe and some of his peers who are serving a life sentence on terrorism related charges presented the conditions which if met will guarantee a ceasefire. They asked that president Paul Biya declares the ceasefire in a message to the nation, remove troops from the conflict zone and free all those detained as a result of the crisis.
“Be reassured that we remain committed to the restoration of the independence of the homeland,” Ayuk Tabe said in a statement, without providing further details about the depths of the talks.
A UN Security Council resolution on July 1, 2020 further emphasized the UN Secretary-General’s call for end to hostilities and general ceasefire to help combat COVID-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus.
A cross-section of the Ambazonia leadership, including Dr. Lucas Ayaba Cho, Secretary Chris Anu, acting interim president Dr. Samuel Ikome Sako, the Consortium of John Mbah Akuroh & Co., Mark Bara Bareta of SCAAF, Dr. Ebenezer Akwanga of SOCADEF, Eric Tataw among others have reacted to the Yaoundé July 2 ceasefire talks.
Obadiah Mua, Secretary General of Dr. Lucas Ayaba Cho’s Ambazonia Governing Council recalled that on Thursday, July 2, 2020, a day immediately after the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2532 (2020) on the Covid-19 pandemic, demanding a cessation of hostilities in situations on its agenda and recognizing the Secretary-General’s global ceasefire appeal, some individual, without a formal, official and declared mandate from the Cameroun government, yet purporting to represent Mr Paul Biya, had a discussion with some Ambazonian prisoners of war in the Kondengui maximum security prison in Yaoundé, Cameroun, led by Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, leader of IG Care, on ceasefire by the people of Ambazonia.
The AGovC writes that: “On the same July 2, 2020, the Cameroun military invaded Babanki, killed ten unarmed Ambazonian civilians and burnt down six houses. On the same day, it targeted Ambazonians in Yaoundé and abducted hundreds whose whereabouts remains unknown.
“Cognizant of the fact that the Cameroun government has maintained its military offensive against the Ambazonian people, in spite of the July 2 drama-talk with some Ambazonians under Cameroun’s captivity; The Ambazonia Governing Council, meeting in extraordinary session on July 3, 2020, hereby states as follows: General:
“ Reminds the world and our people that when the world endorsed the Swiss Process, instead of committing to it, Cameroun called for a National Dialogue; when the world endorsed a global cease fire, instead of committing to it, Cameroun sneaked someone to go an negotiate with Sesekou Ayuk Tabe and others. This deception and manipulation have gone on for 59 years and has to come to an end
“Declares that there is no ongoing talks or negotiation between the government of Cameroun and the people of Ambazonia engaged in their struggle for independence and sovereignty.”
The document also states that “the above-mentioned July 2, 2020 meeting in Yaoundé is one in a series of charades constantly used by the Cameroun government to deceive the international community and appear as heeding the UN Security Council ceasefire demand, while it continues and has continued its killing of Ambazonian civilians.”
With regards to the UN however, AGovC said it welcomes the Security Council Resolution 2532 as reflective of the responsibility of the United Nations to promote global peace and security. AGovC “Calls on the United Nations Secretary General, H.E. António Guterres’, in the spirit of implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2532 and realizing his call for a global ceasefire, to appoint a United Nations Special Envoy to the Ambazonia-Cameroun Conflict who shall engage in mediation effort between Cameroun and Ambazonia towards a peaceful solution to the Ambazonia-Cameroun conflict; Iterates that from the historical attitude of the Republic of Cameroun in relation to the people of Ambazonia, the United Nations should monitor any ceasefire between Ambazonia and Cameroun that may be agreed to by the parties.”
Among other demands the council went ahead to make, is the “immediate and unconditional release of all the thousands of Ambazonians under Cameroun’s captivity and account for those who have disappeared”.
“All forces defending the people of Ambazonia and the integrity of their territory should maintain all defensive/offensive combat positions and continue all operations necessary to fulfil their responsibility to protect the Ambazonian people until such a time when the Ambazonia Governing Council alone or together with the IG Care and Consortium (or together with its allies) orders otherwise” is adds.
“…. Therefore, if the Cameroun government truly wants a ceasefire, it can simply withdraw its troop from the streets and neighborhoods of Ambazonia to Cameroun’s territory.”
Southern Cameroons Civil Society Consortium sets conditions for ceasefire
On July 4, John Mbah Akuroh, Ndeh Geofred Andang and Mawum Fuh J. CHE respectively President, Secretary General and Programs Coordinator of the Southern Cameroons Civil Society Consortium, SCASCS, said a durable ceasefire is only possible if it is done in good faith and allows monitoring of implementation by international armed forces.
“Therefore, we call for the following: A ceasefire line established along the original colonial boundaries between La République du Cameroon and the Southern Cameroons, the establishment of a Robust UN Peacekeeping force, to monitor the ceasefire and the withdrawal of all Forces of La République du Cameroun, including its unofficial militias.” SCASCS also reiterated calls for the release of detainees in connection to the crisis by government, urging “the international community and human rights organizations to support a peaceful end to the violent conflict in the Southern Cameroons, which has claimed thousands of lives and displaced over 1.5 million Southern Cameroonians.”
“Peace talks to reach a lasting political settlement between the two parties must be held in a neutral country and be facilitated by a mutually accepted international mediator” it concludes.