Activists of the Southern Cameroons National Council advocating for a breakaway state are going underground after the government stepped up efforts in a massive crackdown.
In June last year, while unveiling Emergency Humanitarian Plan for victims affected by the crisis in the Anglophone regions, the Minister of Communication IssaTchiroma Bakary and the Minister of Territorial Administration Paul AtangaNji reiterated that Cameroon will not tolerate division and promised hard times to those trying to divide the country.
“Let me remind you (journalists) that the form of the state is non-negotiable and our defence and security forces will defend our territorial integrity against these activists threatening the peace of our country. Let it be clear, any person waging a war of separation against the state will be dealt with according to the law,” IssaTchiroma Bakary warned.
This press conference seemed to have set the ball rolling for this latest crackdown as several persons have been arrested in the Anglophone regions, transferred to prisons in Yaounde and charged for rebellion, secession amongst others.
While some activists have succeeded to go underground, others arrested are no where to be found as family members and friends worry over their disappearance while in detention.
Sources say SCNC activists, Emmanuel Abeno, Eposi Limunga, Bessem Arrey ,Taboh Wilson Tendoh , Nanje Dikong and others escaped into neighbouring Nigeria though other reports hold they are seeking refuge at a foreign embassy in Yaounde as security forces are actively searching for their whereabouts. The government has intensified their search following their role in the fight for independence of Southern Cameroons .
Emmanuel Abeno, Eposi Limung, Bessem Arrey, Taboh Wilson Tendoh, Nanje Dikong have been arrested and detained several times for carrying out protest to call for the independence of the former British Southern Cameroons from the French-speaking part of the country.
It should be recalled that the Southern Cameroons National Council alongside the Consortium were all banned in January 2017 by the government of Cameroon and most of their leaders arrested and detained while some were released after eight months.
Several international human rights organisations have called on the government of Cameroon to release all those arrested and engage in a broad-based dialogue to solve the crisis plaguing the two regions since 2016.
Amnesty International has called on the government of Cameroon to stop the arbitrary detention of activists, release all those arrested and engage in a broad based dialogue.
Human Rights Watch in its latest reports called on both sides of the conflict to show restraint and engage in dialogue.