A number of opposition politicians in Cameroon met in Bamenda, capital of the Northwest region to demand a cessation of government sanctioned arrests of people in the restive Anglophone regions.
Aside the arrests, the group of five leaders led by main opposition leader Ni John Fru Ndi asked the government to release all persons being held in connection with the crisis.
They also want efforts stepped up to ensure return of people who fled the crisis, a general amnesty for those who are in exile and for an end to internet restriction imposed since late September.
A press release issued at the end of the meeting and dated November 26 read as follows: “The undersigned political leaders and leading members of civil society met in Bamenda today to brainstorm on the urgent need for frank, inclusive and comprehensive national dialogue on the ‘Anglophone crisis.’”
According to them, it is only dialogue that can serve as a ‘means of returning the Northwest and Southwest regions to normalcy’ and that it should be organized ‘without further delay.’
Leaders met in Bamenda with dual objectives of a preparatory conference (All Anglophone) & National Dialogue on the Anglophone crisis.
Called on President Biya to:
- End arrests
- Release of all arrested
- Return of refugees
- Amnesty for all in exile
- End internet censorship pic.twitter.com/7anlDrgrJK— Albert Nchinda (@AlbertNchinda) November 26, 2017
The ‘Anglophone crisis’ is a political agitation by minority English – speaking populations in the two regions. They have long protested marginalization by majority French population and sought to declare independence on October 1 under the Ambazonia repulic name.
The attempt was met with heavy security clampdown which led to eight deaths as per official records. Rights group Amnesty International put the figure at 17. Hundreds of people were injured and mass detention especially of young people took place.
Others have fled into Nigeria following the clashes especially in the wake of deadly fightback by separatists on Cameroonian troops. So far four gendarmes – paramilitary troops – have been killed by separatists. The government weeks ago issued international arrest warrants for a number of the Anglophone independence leaders.
Apart from Fru Ndi, other signatories to the statement included Dr. Simon Munzu, Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla, Prince Ekosso and Mrs. Ndi Christine.