Anglophone protests: Gov’t continues use of force

Reports from Bamenda show government has continued to use force in settling issues related to the on-going protests that have…

Reports from Bamenda show government has continued to use force in settling issues related to the on-going protests that have paralysed schools, courts and businesses in Anglophone regions.

A Reverend Father at the Mankon, Cathedral in Bamenda has explained how troops forced Archbishop Cornelius Fontem Esua of the  Bamenda Metropolitan See  to surrender the cathedral’s field to government. He says the church had earlier turned down a request by organisers of the FENASCO B games who wanted to use the Church’s field for the tournament. See video here.

Going by the Reverend Father, the church had been warned not to let government use its facilities for the competition for primary schools. The threats, it would appear, came from citizens supporting the on-going protests against a perceived marginalisation of English-speaking Cameroon; the North West and South West regions.

A source at the Cameroon Baptist Convention told Journal du Cameroun that a similar incident was witnessed at the headquarters of the convention. The source, a staff at the Baptists Centre, said the Baptist Church had also turned down a request from the FENASCO B games organising committee.

The source said the Cameroon Baptist Convention, being a church could not grant the request because of the socio-political tension in the region and the fact that schools are not operational including CBC schools. “Government violated the CBC by barging into the CBC headquarters on Thursday last week. Adolphe Lele Lafrique,Governor of the North West region arrived accompanied by Youssouf Adidja Alim, Basic Education Minister  and soldiers to the suprise of the staff”

Journal du Cameroun learnt the CBC officials had sent home most of its employees of the administrative building, printing press, radio station etc before the arival of the state officials and soldiers. Our source said CBC officials sent them home for fear that security forces may clash with protesters in a possible attempt to use the premises by force. There was however no clash, as protesters rather boycotted the event and stayed indoors.

It should be recalled that the outlawed Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium had called on citizens of the North West and South West regions to boycott the FENASCO A and B sporting events. Both sporting jamborees are competitions organised by the ministries of secondary and primary education for secondary and primary schools. Schools from all ten regions of the country take part in the competitions which often take place simultaneously in two regions of the country.

Another source from the CBC said they could overhear most of the pupils who took part in competitions at the Church’s sporting ground, speaking French; suggesting that Angophone parents did not let their children take part in the competitions.

Goverment nonetheless succeeded to organise the competitions in the two main cities of English-speaking Cameroon amid a tense socio-political atmosphere. The West Region emerged champions in the games in Bamenda. They topped the medals chart with 12 gold medals, six silver and six bronze ahead of the Littoral region with nine gold and the North West region, seven gold.