The incarcerated President of Ambazonia sat down in an exclusive interview with French Magazine, Jeune Afrique Yesterday March 12, 2021, where he gave out some surprising remarks and revelations concerning the current Anglophone Crisis in the Northwest and the Southwest Regions.
Sisiku Ayuk Tabe was sentenced to life in prison by the Yaoundé Military Tribunal as the leader of the Ambazonian quest for independence in the nearest future.
He was arrested and illegally extradited to Cameroon from Nigeria, a collaboration which governments of both countries hoped will quell any further hopes for self determination from respective fugitive clans (Ambazonians in Cameroon and Biafrans in Nigeria).
Talking to Jeune Afrique, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe was fully defiant of the hopeless believe that his arrest was going to hamper the determination of Southern Cameroonians to drive for Independence.
“We have not given up: our quest for a free and independent Ambazonia is beyond us and if detention is the price to pay then so be it,” he said.
The Ambazonian leader in his outing has made it clear that Independence is the ultimate goal of the struggle, but that however there must be a peaceful coordination of activities from both sides.
He mentioned that it will be vital that there be a ceasefire in the regions, something which he says the Government has shown extreme bad faith in achieving so far.
“Let me remind you that there have already been calls for a ceasefire, including last year, but Paul Biya does not respect them. Note also that there was never any question for Ambazonia to oppose the Cameroonian government by violence. We only defended ourselves against an occupying army. The proof is that there was no act of violence in the French-speaking part of Cameroon. We have never led an offensive outside our territory. As soon as Paul Biya has declared a cease-fire and that he has committed to the four points that I have listed for you, we assure you that the violence will stop” he stated.
The former leader was equally quizzed on possibilities of a potential Dialogue between the Government and the Ambazonian Leadership.
He noted that the Ambazonian Leadership will always remain open for negotiation with the government provided the government withdraw its troops from Ambazonia and adhere to a ceasefire amongst other things.
“Before any discussion, we ask Paul Biya to withdraw his army from our streets, to release all political prisoners, to grant a general amnesty to members of the diaspora and to accept international mediation, in a neutral place. If these prerequisites are met, then Ambazonians will be ready to dialogue. Otherwise, Paul Biya will monologue without us”.
He also castigated the Major National Dialogue held Yaounde some two years ago, calling it a meeting between Biya and some friends which had nothing to do with the quest of Ambazonia.
Talking about some rumours that spread sometime last year of talks being held behind the curtains between them and some government emissaries to negotiate a ceasefire, Sisiku affirmed that there were indeed talks, but that they could not continue because the Government were not ready to fulfill their own conditions for a ceasefire.
Taking a deep and introspective look at the impacts of the crisis ever since it began in 2016, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe also added that at this point a Mandated UN Mission to investigate the human and material damage caused by the crisis is of utmost importance above all things.
“As we speak, several reports claim that over 32,500 civilians have been killed. More than 1 million children are out of school, more than 550 villages have been razed and more than 3,000 people are in prison. Hundreds of our women and girls have been raped, thousands of our loved ones are missing. The Norwegian Refugees Commission has declared, two years in a row, that it is the least publicized crisis in the world, which is obviously linked to the fact that the Cameroonian government is preventing independent investigators from coming on the ground. A mission mandated by the UN is therefore absolutely necessary to reveal the gravity of the atrocities committed,” he concluded.