Jailed Ambazonia leader, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, has said the ongoing armed conflict in the English-speaking Regions of Cameroon will only end when the government dialogues with separatists.
He made the statement in a message delivered on October 1, a day separatists have been celebrating since 2017 as the independence day of the breakaway state of Ambazonia.
“The rights of our people cannot be denied or trampled upon forever. Ultimately, the dialogue table is where this bloody problem will be resolved,” said Sisiku.
“…with the characteristic nature of our people, we are in self-defense mode as we pursue the international community for a peaceful resolution of this conflict through the dialogue table.”
At Kondengui Central Prison, Sisiku has remained resolute in his quest for independence, which he believes will come with his release from jail.
“The complete restoration of the independence of our homeland will come with the release and liberty of the captives that all Ambazonians currently are; some are physically captives in LRC dungeons, and some are mentally captives in foreign lands. Our call of duty now is for all Ambazonians to remain focused and committed,” he said.
The Cameroon government has repeatedly rejected attempts by the international community to mediate a peaceful settlement of the crisis, insisting that the crisis is an internal problem that Cameroonians can resolve.
Regime critics say the government has been adopting the wrong approach to the crisis and is supervising the wanton killings and destruction happening in the two Regions.
Last week, the Minister of External Relations, Lejeune Mbella Mbella, told the United Nations that the crisis was dying out, thanks to the surrender of many separatist fighters who have been surrendering their weapons to join disarmament centres in the country.
Soldiers have also killed and dislodged the hideouts of many well-known separatist fighters in the last few weeks. But the cycle of killings and insecurity has persisted.
However, humanitarian groups like the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy for Africa (CHRDA) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) have recorded spiralling incidents of violence and destruction in the two English-speaking Regions this year.
CHRDA said 116 civilians died from the armed conflict in the first six months of this year, while the OCHA reported that 3,655 people were displaced from the two regions in July alone.
Yesterday, cities, towns, and villages in the English-speaking Regions remained locked down as separatists commemorated independence.