Cameroon’s “Special Status” Offer Prolongs Ongoing War

Cameroon’s “Special Status” Offer Prolongs Ongoing War

Cameroon’s “Special Status” Offer Prolongs Ongoing War

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Cameroon special forces near the town of Buea last year. The country is trying to put down a rebellion in English-speaking areas.Credit…Ashley Gilbertson for The New York Times

By Paul J. Lysinge, AmbaNews24, Buea

In a continuous play of its historical arrogance and
delusions, the Cameroon government has thrown a “Special Status” to what it
calls its “Southwest and Northwest Regions” in the hope that this will end the
ongoing Ambazonia War of Independence that has engulfed the territory since
2017. The truth is: the war will intensify! And this is why.

Cameroon
Government Cannot Impose a “Special Status” before Negotiations with Liberation
Fighters

The Paul Biya’s government is perpetually oblivious of
standard procedures in conflict resolutions, abrogating to itself the right to
impose solutions that it crafts using its regime bigots and a class of selected
men and women who have lost a sense of truth and are being controlled by the
drive for money from the Yaoundé regime – some of them are running around in
cassocks and roman collars.

Let us be clear here – once there is an ongoing armed
conflict, there are only three ways the conflict can end. Either the belligerent
parties grow tired of fighting and both parties give up, or one party defeats
the other in the war field and declares victory, or both parties negotiate a
peace agreement. The political ploy “special status” from the Cameroon
government does not meet or satisfy any of these three situations.

The Biya’s regime did not arrive at its “special status”
through negotiation with the fighting forces. It simply handpicked its
political hand clappers and so called “moderates” whom it believes can help it
maintain its “One and Indivisible Cameroon” agenda, and used them in its Grand
National Dialogue and thereafter to create its special status offer. In so far
as the very idea and content of the Special Status was not born out of
negotiation and agreement with Ambazonian liberation leaders, it shall remain a
talking point in the media while being rejected on the ground. It will fail,
and the war will continue.

The USA government, the Belgians, and other foreign
nations know it will fail. That is why they keep telling the Biya’s regime to
negotiate with the “separatists”. They know that from their own conflict
experiences, the Cameroon government cannot win a guerilla war, and the
“special status” is a window dressing caricature that cannot pass for effective
conflict resolution. Both parties must first negotiate a peace agreement
wherein the terms and full content of the “special status” – if Ambazonian
leaders can even agree to that as an interim measure – are agreed upon before
the Yaoundé parliament can vote the negotiated provisions of the special status
into law.

I
should be quick to inform the Cameroon government that only a few days ago,
Ukraine in an attempt to quell the separatist war ravaging that country offered
a special status to separatist controlled regions in eastern Ukraine. That came
about through international mediation negotiations in Paris between the leaders
of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany built on the already negotiated 2015
peace agreement.

This conflict is rooted in a botched decolonization
process in which the Cameroon government under Ahmadou Ahidjo, and then under
Biya, believed it could disregard international law, UN Resolutions, African
Union Charter, all due and standard processes of union treaty negotiation,
conflict resolution, and territorial administration. The same disregard for
these procedures is the reason the ongoing war shall continue.

Cameroon
has No Powers to Grant Ambazonia a Special Status

The Republic of Cameroon was a Class B Mandate Trust
Territory of the United Nations under French rule; the Southern Cameroons (now
“Ambazonia”) was also a Class B Mandate Trust Territory of the United Nations
under British administration. The boundaries between both territories was
established by the Anglo-French Treaty (the Milner-Simon Agreement) of 1916.
Cameroonians east of the Mongo constitute a people under international law just
as Ambazonians west of the Mongo constitute a separate people under
international law. This was the ruling of the African Commission for Human and
Peoples Rights in 2009.

How on earth is it imaginable, then, that the Cameroon government
can think it can give the Ambazonian people a “special status”? Does it not
have the commonsense to see and know that Ambazonians already have an inherent
special status? For heaven sake, they are “a people” – that is their status –
and as such they have all rights ascribed to a people under international law.
That right includes the “inalienable right to total freedom, the exercise of
their sovereignty and the integrity of their national territory” as stipulated
in UN General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December, 1960.

The Cameroon government lives in a bubble of self-denial
and self-deceit. It has deceived itself for years that the Ambazonian territory
is its territory – although it has remained incapable of showing how it
acquired claim to the territory under international law and procedures. It
often says, “there was a plebiscite and the anglophones voted to join us.” However,
it consistently fails to see that without negotiating and signing a union
treaty as was required by UN Resolution 1608 (XV), Operative Paragraph 5, of 21st
April 1961, and without that treaty being ratified by the Southern Cameroons
House of Assembly and House of Chiefs as it were, Cameroon has no legal claim
to the Ambazonia territory.

That is why when Ali Triki, the UN 64th
General Assembly President visited Paul Biya in 2010 at the 50th
anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Cameroon, the gift he gave
Biya from the United Nations was two separate maps – not one – of the Republic
of Cameroon and of the state of Ambazonia. The diplomatic message that the UN
envoy was sending to the Cameroon government was simple: these two territories
have not been officially united under international law, principles and
procedures; they are still separate territories.

Absent this legal authority under international law and
procedures to govern Ambazonia, the Cameroon government occupies Ambazonia
illegally in colonial and annexationist style. It cannot then deliberate and
enact any status whatsoever, and enforce it in Ambazonia legally. The status
shall be rejected, fought against and shall remain null and void.

The earlier Mr. Biya stops the arrogance that the
government of French Cameroon, beginning from Ahmadou Ahidjo in 1961 has
exercised over the Ambazonian people, the better for the Yaoundé government.

Participants
in Biya’s “Special Status” Risk Being Killed

There is a continuous tendency to minimize the war of
liberation that is going on in Ambazonia. Everyone must be very careful when
arms are involved. Separatist fighters shall take all measures possible to
eliminate anyone who dares to become a member of the Regional Executive
Council, Regional House of Chiefs, Regional House of Representative or any
other organ to be set up under the Biya’s Special Status. Such is simply the
reality and nature of war!

Anyone whom one party believes is supporting the other
side is killed. That is why Cameroon soldiers have been killing civilians they
suspect to have any links with separatist fighters. Why then should anyone not
expect Ambazonian fighters to kill anyone who openly declares and participates
in the “special status” organs of the enemy of the Ambazonian people? The
French military killed over 9,000 French citizens who were siding with Germany
in the liberation of France from Germany’s invasion and rule. The price for
traitors is death!

Members of the so-called House of Chiefs, House of
Representatives, etc – including their families – or any organ that will be set
up under this bill will be killed. This is not a command for them to be
eliminated, but a fact of the war theater environment. To stay alive, they will
have to go and live in Yaoundé for their safety. As such, they will never be
able to act inside Ambazonia with separatist fighters controlling a majority of
the territory.

Ambazonia
Governing Council Declares “No Blinking”

The
Ambazonia Governing Council, acting in line with the framework of the Ambazonia
Restoration Collaborative Council (ARCC) has declared that the ongoing war will
not stop until Cameroon respects the inalienable right of the Ambazonian people
to total freedom, exercise of their sovereignty and respect for their
territorial integrity as provided in the above quoted UN General Assembly
Resolution 1514.
This commitment not to give up on the
inalienable right of the Ambazonian people cannot be taken lightly.

Its military wing, the Ambazonia Defense Forces is the most armed liberation force in the territory. It also has some of the most deadly trained fighters, including snippers who recently killed Cameroon gendarmes in Bamenda. From command under General Ivo to General Efang, they have fought the highest number of battles across the territory, from Bamenda to Kumbo, from Bafut to Batibo, from Buea to Kumba, from Teke to Matoh, from Ekok to Mamfe, from Jakiri to Akum, from Bechati in Lebialem to Tiko, etc – setting bobby traps, dismantling Cameroon security forces checkpoints, attacking army camps, blowing off military trucks, taking down Cameroon’s BIRs, gendarmes, etc. Its number of armed fighters is increasing every day, and has reached the critical 2,000 number that is generally considered the threshold of an equipped undefeatable guerilla force. It is also controlling significant areas across the country.

One Unit of the Ambazonia Defense Forces

Time
is on the Side of Ambazonian Independence Fighters

The Ambazonia Defense Forces and all other fighting
groups across the territory have a factor in their favor that the Cameroon
government does not have. This element is time, and it is not subject to Biya’s
“special status” political drama.

Guerilla fighters are never in a hurry. Oliver Leke, Aka
Field Marshall may hide in the forest land of Essoh-Attah for a month without a
single fight, but he eventually poops out and deals the enemy a blow. RK may be
quiet for two months in the difficult terrains of Boyo, but the unit under him
will eventually take out at least five Cameroon soldiers in a battle.

Guerilla forces do not intend to win the war next week,
next month or even next year. In fact, outright victory in the war front is not
their primary motive. They spend more time monitoring their enemy for a
precision attack than actually shutting guns. Their goal is to progressively
and slowly, harass, undermine, confuse, degrade, demoralize and ultimately
destroy the enemy from within. Every day that passes and they are still alive
is a day of victory for them. Their modus operandi is to live today to destroy
the enemy another day. That is what is most important to them, not the ticking
clock pressure under which the Cameroon government is under to ensure it has
enough money to pay workers at the end of the month, to pay its sovereign debt
on due day, to hold elections in accordance with its constitution, etc.

Therefore, irrespective of the “special status” bone of
the Biya’s National Dialogue thrown at the separatist fighters today, they need
not bother. They are not controlled by the political temperature in Yaoundé or
on international media. They will come out when they want, act when they want,
neutralize enemy targets when they want, and sabotage Cameroon’s economic
infrastructure whenever they want. They dictate the pace of the war, not
Cameroon!

Time is always on their side! That is why it took the
Eritreans 26years, despite the hundreds of thousands of soldiers that Ethiopia
committed into eliminating the Eritrean People Liberation Front (EPLF). And at
the end, Eritrea became independent and sovereign. That is why it took the
South Sudanese People Liberation Movement/Army over 21years in South Sudan; it
took the Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) over 20years
in East Timor; it took the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) 11years in
Mozambique; it took the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army 16years in
Zimbabwe, etc, and their territories still became independent and sovereign. Time
is always on the side of guerilla fighters!

The Cameroon government’s “special status” offer in the
hope that it will appease the population and end the struggle is actually a
miscalculation that will prolong the war because it fails to follow standard
procedures of conflict resolution. It is a further expression of Biya
government’s arrogance and illegitimate claims of authority over the Ambazonian
territory. Those who dare to enfore it by participant in the structures it
seeks to create shall be eliminated as traitors in times of war. The resolve of
the Ambazonia Governing Council and true liberation movements is unwavering,
and Ambazonian forces are getting more sophisticated by each passing day. Time
is on their side – and so today’s “special status” bone will be history
tomorrow.

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