September 22 remains indelible in the minds of many a living Cameroonian. It was on this day in 2017 that government forces cracked down on one of the largest ever protests in the English-speaking regions of the country.
Thousands filled the streets in peaceful protests, demanding to be heard. Their demands had morphed from resolving Anglophone marginalization to getting outright independence from Cameroon.
The Biya regime however responded with force, gunning down some and arresting many more. To date, the whereabouts of many remain unaccounted for.
Since the crackdown, things have never been the same again, as the “burnt up anger” later translated into an armed struggle that lingers on today.
The disappearance of many protesters whisked off by security forces at the time was strange, but is now a new normal. Many have also gone unaccounted for including pressman, Samuel Wazizi who died in detention.
Four years after the September 22, 2017 protest, some government officials continue to fan the flames of the conflict, ignoring the thousands of lives lost on all fronts.
A similar episode was repeated last year when Prof Maurice Kamto’s opposition Cameroon Renaissance Movement, CRM party took to the streets. At least 500 persons were arrested, and many more dispersed with water cannons and tear gas.
To date, their primary concerns including the need to end the Anglophone crisis, have not been met.
While September 22nd for some Cameroonians and Anglophones, in particular, marks the active start of a revolution and a fight for glory, to others it remains the start of a series of sad episodes, after which nothing will ever be the same again.